Abbas snubs Egypt on Sadat apology (JERUSALEM POST) By KHALED ABU TOAMEH 01/31/05)
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Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) has turned
down a request to apologize to Egypt on behalf of the Palestinians
for celebrating the assassination of former Egyptian President Anwar
Sadat in 1981.
The request was made by two members of the Egyptian parliament on the
eve of Abbas´s visit to Cairo over the weekend.
They demanded that Abbas formally apologize to the Egyptian
government and people as he did with Kuwait late last year, when he
publicly expressed regret for supporting Saddam Hussein´s invasion of
the tiny Gulf state.
However, Abbas left Cairo on Saturday following a meeting with
President Hosni Mubarak without making an apology.
When Sadat was assassinated by Muslim extremists, many Palestinians
took to the streets to celebrate the killing by handing out candies
and condemning the late president as a traitor for signing a separate
peace agreement with Israel.
Yasser Arafat´s initial response back then to the assassination
was: "Blessed are the hands that carried out the killing."
Ibrahim Sa´deh, editor-in-chief of the Egyptian daily Akhbar al-Yom,
also called for an apology from Abbas.
"I have not forgotten, and will not forget, as long as I live, how
Arafat jumped for joy, dancing, singing, and praising [the assassins]
as soon as he learned of the death of the late Anwar Sadat on October
6, 1981," he wrote.
Another prominent editor, Anis Mansour, wrote in the Egyptian
government daily Al-Ahram: "We will never forget how Yasser Arafat
broadcast the song ´Rejoice My Heart ´ when President Sadat was
assassinated. Nor will we forget the expressions of joy over the
death of the ´Zionist traitor, agent and criminal.´"
Sources close to Abbas, who is now on an official visit to Moscow,
said the Egyptian government did not ask for such an apology during
his recent visit to Cairo. The sources also expressed hope that such
demands would not harm the close relations between the two parties,
noting that Egypt has long been backing the Palestinians´ struggle
Meanwhile, PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei announced on Sunday that
Egypt has agreed to host a meeting of various Palestinian factions to
discuss the possibility of reaching a cease-fire with Israel. (© 1995-
2005, The Jerusalem Post 01/31/05)
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