Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Philadelphia Bulletin: Invite Creates Egyptian Objections

by David Bedein

Israeli Ambassador to Egypt Shalom Cohen is in the eye of a political storm that is currently raging in Cairo following a rare work visit that he paid to Al-Ahram's offices. Top executives in the Egyptian media establishment are demanding that 
Cohen's host at that meeting, the editor of the magazine Democracy, be 
brought up on disciplinary charges for advocating normalization with Israel.

Cohen went at noon on Monday to Al-Ahram's offices for a meeting that 
had been scheduled with the prominent journalist Hala Mustafa.

The building, which is on Al-Galaa Street in central Cairo, houses 
both the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies as well as 
a the editorial offices of a number of publications that are issued 
under the aegis of Al-Ahram. One of those publications is the monthly Democracy, which is edited by Mustafa, a peace-supporting 

Ambassador Cohen is currently trying to organize a seminar to be attended by Egyptian and Israeli expert to address the question on Egyptian-Israeli trade.

Cohen wanted to discuss this matter with the president of the board 
of directors of the Al-Ahram Center, Dr. Abdel Monem Said, in hope of 
enlisting him to the project. That request was denied. He then decided to meet with Hala Mustafa. He never imagined that this would spark a 
storm over the question of normalization with Israel. 

The two met for approximately one hour in Mustafa's offices. The fact 
of the meeting was made public and created an uproar. Opponents of peace 
in Cairo accused Mustafa of collaboration with the Israelis, and asked 
how it was conceivable that Cohen had been permitted to enter the building at all.

View the original article in the Philadelphia Bulletin

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