Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Smothering him with love
Lynn has all the story about Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher’s being attacked by Palestinians on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem yesterday (So has Dave). He came to worship there, had shoes flung at him and had to be hospitalized.

As Maher made his way into the mosque, scores of Palestinians, shouting Allahu Akbar ("God is great") converged on him and began berating him for his meetings with Israeli leaders.
"Traitor! Collaborator!" they screamed at him, with some of them pelting him with their shoes, both inside and outside the mosque.
"I'm going to choke, I'm going to choke," a panicked-looking Maher was heard saying, according to witnesses, as one of the shoes – which by Muslim tradition are taken off at the entrance to mosques – apparently hit him in the face.
Striking someone with a shoe is considered a great sign of Muslim insult.

The latest, according to Hebrew newspaper Maariv (Hebrew link), is that Maher is now saying that it wasn’t an attack at all - it was a show of affection! He claims that part of the Palestinians in the mosque wanted him to succeed in leaving the mountain, and the others thought he should have an opportunity to worship like he wanted to. Thus he found himself stuck between the two factions, each one trying to show its affection and interest. And this is what caused him to feel a bit constricted.

His words, not mine. Why don’t we have diplomats like that?

Here is photo of him drinking in all that Palestinian affection and interest.