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June 8, 2023 Special Dispatch No. 10656

Qatar-Affiliated Journalists, Clerics: The Egyptian Border Guard Who Murdered Three Israeli Soldiers Is 'A Real Hero,' 'A Martyr' And 'The Pride Of The Arabs'

June 8, 2023
Egypt, Qatar | Special Dispatch No. 10656

The Qatari press and presenters on Qatar's Al-Jazeera network, as well as clerics identified with the Qatari regime, lavished praise on Muhammad Salah, the Egyptian border guard who crossed into Israeli territory on June 3, 2023 and murdered three Israeli soldiers.

The Al-Jazeera presenters, and members of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), which is based in Doha and is supported by the Qatari authorities, took to Twitter to describe Salah as "a hero," "the pride of the Arabs" and "a martyr who fulfilled his duty towards his religion, his homeland… and the honor of his Arab and Islamic nation." Many of their tweets appeared under hashtags praising Salah and his action that had been launched on social media, such as "Egyptian_soldier," "the heroic martyr Muhammad Salah" and "pride of the Arabs." One Al-Jazeera presenter and several clerics drew a connection between the attack and the anniversary of the start of the 1967 war, known in the Arab world as Naksa Day,[1] which occurred on June 5, two days after the attack. They wrote that the shooting perpetrated by Salah sweetened the bitter taste of the Arab defeat in 1967, even after so many years. Some of the writers likened Muhammad Salah to Suleiman Khater, an Egyptian soldier who opened fire on a group of Israeli tourists in Sinai in October, 1985, killing seven people, including four children. Articles and cartoons in the Qatari press likewise lauded Salah.        


Cartoon in Qatari daily: The Egyptian eagle emerges from the Egyptian peace dove (Al-Sharq, Qatar, June 6, 2023)

This report reviews some of these responses to the attack.

Qatari Daily: The Situation In Palestine Prompted The Egyptian Border Guard To Sacrifice His Life

The June 5, 2023 editorial of the London-based Qatari daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi recounted the Egyptian and the Israeli versions of the incident, and concluded: "The operation [i.e., the attack] shows that the border guard… planned every detail of the attack and was well-acquainted with the terrain, including the area of the observation post where he killed the two [Israeli] soldiers. The operation proves that, although many years have passes since 1979, the year the peace agreement between Israel and Cairo was signed,  and despite the overall ruination of the Arabs, the civil wars and the oppression of tyrannical [Arab] regimes, the events in Palestine – what Israel and its racist government are doing to the Palestinian people – continues to be an active and influential factor that can arouse the Arab national sentiment.  [In fact, it is so influential] that a man like the Egyptian attacker decided to sacrifice his life as an act of protest against the Israeli crimes and against the 'security cooperation,' the false peace and the normalization agreements."[2]

The daily also published a number of cartoons praising Salah and his action:


"The Egyptian martyr" is also "our martyr"; "we will not forget you" (Al-Quds Al-Arabi, London, June 5, 2023)


"Egyptian soldier kills three Israeli soldiers on the Egypt-Israel border." The shooter is portrayed as the reincarnation of "the martyr Suleiman Al-Khater" (
Al-Quds Al-Arabi, London, June 5, 2023)


Muhammad Salah, portrayed as the Egyptian Sphynx, burns a hole through "the Camp David Accords" between Israel and Egypt by perpetrating the attack at "'Uja Crossing" on the Egypt-Israel border (
Al-Quds Al-Arabi, London, June 8, 2023)


"Palestine" bears the coffin of the "martyr" Salah at his "secret funeral, [3]  which was public in Palestine and in the hearts of the Arabs" (
Al-Quds Al-Arabi, London, June 7, 2023)

Al-Jazeera Presenters: Salah Is "The Pride of The Arabs"

Presenters on Al-Jazeera, writing on their personal social media accounts, claimed that Salah's action proved that Israel was still an enemy of the Arabs despite the peace and normalization agreements signed with it by some Arab regimes. As mentioned, some of them compared Salah to Suleiman Khater, the terrorist who murdered seven Israeli tourists, including children, in Sinai in 1985.

Salam Hindawi, who presents investigative shows on Al-Jazeera, tweeted a picture of Salah against the backdrop of Al-Aqsa, with the words "the pride of the Arabs."[4]  


Salam Hindawi's tweet

'Abd Al-Fattah Fayed, the head of Al-Jazeera's Egypt desk and formerly the director of the channel's offices in Cairo, tweeted on June 3, as initial reports about the incident began to appear: "The spirit of #Suleiman_Khater is still with us, despite the torrent of normalization [agreements], of rushing [into Israel's arms] and of groveling [to it]."[5]

Al-Jazeera presenter Ghada Oueiss shared Salah's picture, and wrote: "A quick glance at people's responses [to the attack] is enough to realize once again that #Palestine is the  cause of the Arab peoples and that the #Israeli_occupation is their enemy, despite the crazy campaigns of deception, brainwashing and promoting normalization. Allah have mercy on the #Egyptian_soldier Muhammad Salah Ibrahim."[6]


Ghada Oueiss' tweet

Mostafa Al-Ashoor, another Al-Jazeera presenter, tweeted: "I call on the Egyptian people, on our Arab and Islamic nation and on all freedom-lovers to honor their son, #the_heroic_ martyr #Muhammad_Salah_Ibrahim, by erecting mourning tents [for him]… and praying for the soul of this martyr, who ascended to heaven while defending his faith, his honor and his land and after he fulfilled his duty towards his faith, his homeland, his land, his honor and the honor of his Arab and Islamic nation."  Al-Ashoor added: #the_heroic_martyr_Muhammad_Salah, an #Egyptian_soldier and #the_pride_of_the_Arabs… lived like an honorable knight and died a martyred hero."[7]

Qatari journalist Fawaz Al-Ajmi likewise tweeted Salah's picture, against the background of an Egyptian flag, and wrote: "Whether this Egyptian soldier was killed chasing a gang of drug [smugglers], as the Egyptians allege, or was killed chasing the occupation soldiers, as Israel claims, he is a martyr. For the drug gangs and the occupation gangs are two sides of the same coin. Their goal is destruction and terror. I pray for Allah to have mercy on you, [Salah], and to accept you as a martyr. Well done, hero!"[8]


Fawaz Al-Ajmi's tweet

Yet another Al-Jazeera presenter, Ahmad Mansour, tweeted: "Today is the anniversary of June 5, 1967, [the start of the 1967 war], in which Israel defeated all the Arab armies commanded by [Egyptian president Gamal] 'Abd Al-Nasser, after he threatened to throw [Israel] into the sea. But, 56 years later, one Egyptian soldier named #Muhammad_Salah arrived and turned [this defeat] into a victory of the Arab peoples and into a psychological, moral and physical defeat for the Israeli army."[9]

In another tweet, Mansour shared footage from the funerals of the murdered Israeli soldiers, with the hashtag #Suleiman_Khater, and wrote: "[This is] the weeping and wailing of the invincible army that was defeated by one Egyptian soldier."[10]   


Ahmad Mansour's tweet

Qatar-Affiliated Clerics: This Heroic Operation Sweetened The Bitterness Of Naksa Day

As stated, praise for Salah was also heard from members of the Doha-based International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), which is supported by the Qatari regime. They too argued that the actions of this border guard – whom they called "a martyr of the nation," "the bridegroom of Jerusalem" and "a hero worthy of respect" --  sweetened the bitterness of the Arab defeat in the 1967 war, although many years have passed since then.

IUMS board member Muhammad Al-Sagheer tweeted a picture of Salah against the background of Al-Aqsa, and wrote: "After he ascended to heaven as a martyr, #Muhammad_Salah transformed from an #Egyptian_soldier into a martyr of the nation and a bridegroom of Jerusalem. In order to realize the collective fraternity [among the members] of this nation, I call upon all Muslims to pray for the soul of this #heroic_martyr."

In another tweet Al-Sagheer complained that the Egyptian media did not initially disclose the identity of the attacker, although he is "a hero worthy of respect." 


Muhammad Al-Sagheer's tweet

In a third tweet, Al-Sagheer again shared Salah's picture and called to pray for his soul, and added: "June 5 is the sad anniversary [of the 1967 war], whose bitterness [we have tasted] anew [every year]. But [this year] it was accompanied by the sweet taste of victory, [which] restored our conviction that the future [belongs to] this religion [Islam]."[11]

Muhammad Al-Mokhtar Al-Shinqiti, also an IUMS member and a lecturer at Qatar University, tweeted in a similar vein: "#The_martyr_Muhammad_Salah apparently wanted his heroic operation of self-sacrifice to take place on the bitter anniversary of the June 1967 defeat. He wanted to say to the Zionist enemy: 'We have attacked you back, even if it took a long time."[12]


Muhammad Al-Mokhtar Al-Shinqiti's tweet

 

[1] Naksa in Arabic means "setback."

[2] Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), June 5, 2023.

[3] At the request of the Egyptian authorities, Salah's family held his funeral late at night and with a small number of mourners (Al-Akhbar, Lebanon, June 5, 2023).

[4] Twitter.com/HindawiSalam, June 5, 2023.

[5] Twitter.com/fayednet, June 3, 2023.

[6]  Twitter.com/ghadaoueiss, June 5, 2023.

[7]  Twitter.com/moashoor, June 5, 2023.

[8] Twitter.com/fawazsalajmi, June 5, 2023.

[9] Twitter.com/amansouraja, June 5, 2023.

[10] Twitter.com/amansouraja, June 5, 2023.

[11]  Twitter.com/drassagheer, June 5, 2023.

[13] Twitter.com/mshinqiti, June 5, 2023.

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