Skip to main content

Arabic press review: Egypt urged to sue France over Suez Crisis killing

Elsewhere, NGOs urge UN protection of Palestinians from settler attacks, and, in Morocco, Christians want religious freedom while employees get handout from successful local business
French soldiers guard Egyptian prisoners on 13 November 1956 in Port Fouad during the Suez Crisis (AFP)

Egypt's highest court tells government to sue France

Revenge is a dish best served cold in Egypt, where the highest court has called on the government to sue France over the killing of a captured Egyptian officer during the 1956 Suez Crisis.

Documents published by the Arabi21 news site reveal Egypt's Court of Cassation arguing that the killing violated the Geneva Conventions.

"The local Egyptian courts have no jurisdiction in the international prosecution of the French Republic, which necessitates benefiting from the judgment and transferring it to international courts," the documents read.

The court noted that a 1957 letter by the Commissioner of the International Committee of the Red Cross and Egyptian defence ministry data could be used as evidence against France, as it indicates the officer was arrested unarmed then killed.

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked


The officer's family is demanding the French government pay compensation of 10m euros ($11.3m) and give an official apology, according to the documents.

Arabi21 reports that the Egyptian government has ignored the advice.

It is months since the court delivered its opinion, but the government has not followed up on what the court decided, and has not moved internationally to take the procedures granted for it to litigate against the French government over the killing of the army officer.

145 NGOs call for international protection

As Israeli settler attacks increase in the occupied West Bank, 145 Palestinian NGOs have come together to urge the United Nations to protect Palestinians and stop Israel's military providing settlers with impunity.

In a statement published by London-based newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi, the Palestinian groups described the attacks as attempts at "forced transference" that are equivalent to "war crimes".

For days, settlers have been attacking Palestinian homes in the northern West Bank and organising rallies calling for Israelis to return to an illegal settlement that was built on the land of two Palestinian towns and evacuated in 2005.

The Palestinian NGOs Network umbrella group described these developments as "a racist attack of the settlers within an open and systematic war, and it is not individual or discrete operations separated from a continuous context of attacks and ethnic cleansing, which also includes the city of Jerusalem and its surroundings, the holy sites and the rest of the Palestinian lands".

The UN is obligated to take urgent measures to provide international protection to the Palestinians, the NGOs said, adding that all measures must be taken to stop Palestinians being forced from their homes.

Christians in Morocco demand religious freedom

Morocco's Christian community has taken the Christmas season as an opportunity to write to Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch demanding religious freedom be enshrined in the kingdom's constitution, reports Morccan website Hespress.

The Union of Christian Moroccans has never sent a letter of its kind, according to the website.

"You participated in the elections and your win was superior. You also announced a liberal project in which all individual freedoms are strengthened, including freedom of belief," the letter tells Akhannouch.

Adam Rabati, head of the Union of Christian Moroccans, said some chapters of the 2011 constitution had been withdrawn, and the chapter relating to the freedom of belief became limited by the Justice and Development Party, which led the government until Akhannouch electoral victory in September.

He added: "Now, the government is led by a party that talks about a modern democratic programme. Therefore, we sent a message to the prime minister on the occasion of Christmas, this great occasion that we celebrate secretly, so it does not grant us much joy."

Big bonus for employees of Moroccan businessman

It has been a particularly profitable year for Moroccan businessman Othman Al-Kathiri, who has doled out a million euros ($1.1m) to reward employees of his OK Mobility group, according to al-Arabi al-Jadeed newspaper.

Describing the year's results as "historic," Kathiri is dividing the bonus according to seniority.

"This is my way of thanking you for your commitment and dedication, and above all for your loyalty. Enjoy it, enjoy the merry Christmas," Kathiri said.

"For three months, I have been preparing this gift with great enthusiasm and passion, and in the utmost secrecy to celebrate a historic year for the company."

The gift was received with great enthusiasm by employees, with some employees seen crying while others jumped for joy, according to the newspaper.

Kathiri was born in 1979 to a Moroccan father and a French mother in Casablanca. He completed his higher education in France, before moving to Palma in Spain to start his career in the automotive sector.

Kathiri is the founder and CEO of the OK Mobility Group, a transport and tourism company with more than 30 offices throughout Europe.

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.