A spokesperson of the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ahmed Abu Zeid, issued a statement on Monday evening condemning what he described as attempts in the media to twist of Egyptian Foreign Minister Samah Shoukry’s words into implying that the killing of Palestinian children did not constitute terror.
“Anybody who has ears can check the video of the meeting with the high school students that is available on the Facebook page of the the spokesman of the Foreign Ministry and be sure that the question posed by the children had no connection whatsoever to the murder of innocent Palestinians,” the statement read.
“The question was a theoretical and general one regarding the reason that the international community does not define Israeli actions against Palestinians as terror. The minister answered that there is no international consensus on the specific legal definition of terror and that there is an international debate regarding the distinction between legal meanings and state meanings of the term ‘terror.’”
The statement was issued after Egyptian Foreign Minister Samah Shoukry spoke with Egyptian high school students at the Foreign Ministry headquarters in Cairo when he was asked why the Egyptian government doesn't define Israeli and American actions in the Middle East as terrorism.
The student also inquired as to why attacks occur all over the Arab world, but not in Israel.
"We can look at this issue and define it as a 'rule by force,'" the foreign minister answered. "However, there is nothing to suggest that there is any connection between Israel and terrorist organizations. There is nothing that leads to this conclusion."
He continued, saying "Of course Israel, in keeping with its history, is very strong in terms of security. Since 1948, for some perspective, that same society has been dealing with a lot of challenges which have instilled in it the concept of security, the takeover of land, and the control of border crossings."
Shoukry clarified in his discussion with the students that "the international community has yet to come to a consensus as to what constitutes terror. Under a political framework, illegitimate military actions are also considered illegitimate by the international community. The state's intervention into the affairs of other states goes against the UN charter. In order for a specific action to be considered terror, it must be a consensus amongst the international community, as there is no exact legal definition regarding what is terror."
The discussion with the high schoolers grabbed headlines all over Egyptian and Arabic media, with the London based "al-Arabi al-Jadida" writing in its headline "Samah Shoukry: the murder of Palestinian children by Israel isn't terrorism."
The newspaper also pointed out the fact that the Egyptian Foreign Ministry website only says that Shoukry met with high schoolers at the Foreign Ministry Headquarters, but says nothing about the questions posed by the students.
Meanwhile, Turkish news agency Antalya reported that a delegation Israelis left Cairo following a meeting which lasted several hours. According to the report, the Israelis met with high ranking Egyptian officials to discuss renewing the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.