A storm has been kicked up in Egyptian media after experiences on the flotilla are recounted. The version of events on the Gaza-bound flotilla as heard by an Egyptian member of parliament have evoked the ire of a number of state-run media outlets in the country because, they claim, the stories help Israeli PR efforts.
An Egyptian member of parliament from the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Beltagy, took part in the flotilla to the Gaza Strip that was commandeered by the Israeli Navy. After participating in the clashes on the deck of the Mavi Marmara, he was arrested by Israel and later released to Egypt.
On Tuesday of last week, he was interviewed on the "10 at Night" program on the Egyptian channel Dream. During the interview, he said that the flotilla participants overtook three Israeli commandos and snatched their weapons from them. This admission of employing force against IDF soldiers has evoked a media storm among Egyptian columnists, who claim this was a "public relations gift to Israel."
Under the headline "The Muslim Brotherhood's Gift to Israel," columnist Abdullah Kamal criticized Beltagy's admission. "He said that he and those with him on the ship overtook three Israeli commando soldiers who had broken onto the ship and took control of their weapons. He boasted of this without understanding that he is granting Israel a massive, recorded gift that it will gain benefit from in the commission of inquiry it will carry out following the massacre."
In the column, published in the Egyptian newspaper Rosalyousef, Kamal continued, "Israel said that it was faced with armed men on the ship and that it was thus forced to clash with them. The parliament member said that he and those with him took over the commando's weapon and denied that he and those with him were civilians who had not committed violent acts.
"Perhaps everyone will see the video clip of the action that was leaked to the media and includes images of an Israeli soldier jumping onto the boat and then being chased and beaten. This is precisely what Israel wants – to prove its excuses from a legal perspective."
Neither did Kamal spare the Turks of criticism: "Turkey does not want the best for the Palestinians, but is interested in using the Palestinian card for the sake of its own objectives. The most important of them is to be the intermediary between the West and the East, which would grant it the ability to join the European Union."
The daily newspaper el-Gomhuriah also did not spare the parliament member. "This is dangerous talk that serves Israel. Beltagy returned Tuesday to the Gaza Strip in order 'to show his support.' He took part in the delegation of nine Egyptian parliament members, seven of whom are Muslim Brothers, that crossed Rafah Crossing into the Gaza Strip in order to show their support and meet with senior Hamas officials."