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Egyptian Media claim Israeli-American arrested in Cairo met with Muslim Brotherhood men

Egyptian Media outlets claim Israeli-American arrested in Cairo presented himself as foreign reporter, tried to cross border into eastern Libya.
FM Lieberman: Grapel has no connection to intelligence apparatus, not in Israel, US, or Mars.

Friend of alleged Israeli spy detained in Egypt makes case for his innocence -
'Ilan was a dove at a time when the Israeli left had all but collapsed and when American Jewish immigrants to Israel expressing such views had become an endangered species.
Despite his lack of caution, Ilan represented some of the best impulses and hopes of the American liberal democracy he grew up in. And now he is sitting in a prison somewhere in Cairo.
I guess he − like many more veteran members of the Israeli left − has learned to his disappointment that the Middle East just ain’t that kind of neighborhood.'

Published: 06.14.11

Egypt-based daily al-Masry al-Youm reported Tuesday that Israeli-American citizen Ilan Grapel, arrested in Egypt on alleged espionage charges, met with six people linked to an espionage ring in Egypt, four of whom he met in the town of Suez.

According to Egyptian media, Grapel crossed the border into Egypt with a tourist visa after the Mossad sent him to gather information on the Muslim Brotherhood, the Coptic Christians, Egypt's High Military Council and the Coalition of Revolutionary Youth.

Al-Masry al-Youm reported that Grapel met with members of the Muslim Brotherhood and other radical elements.

The report also claimed Grapel met with journalists and academics in cafes in Cairo, purchased an Egyptian flag, and demonstrated at Tahrir Square on the Friday following former President Hosni Mubarak's ouster.

According to the report, Grapel also attempted to travel to eastern Libya, to areas controlled by rebel forces.



'Mistake or strange behaviour'
Al-Ahram weekly reported that during his stay in Egypt, Grapel visited synagogues, including the Jewish community building in Alexandria, where he identified himself as a news agency reporter or a European tourist. The paper further noted Grapel concealed his Israeli citizenship during his visit.


Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman denied the allegations, saying Grapel "is just a student, perhaps a little strange or a little careless. He has no connection to any intelligence apparatus, not in Israel, not in the US and not on Mars.

"This is a mistake or strange behavior by the Egyptians. They have received all the clarifications and I hope the whole story will end quickly," Lieberman added.

Grapel's mother, Irene, said her son, a law student in the United States, was working for Saint Andrew's Refugee Services, a non-governmental organization, in Cairo.


The US embassy in Cairo said a consular officer visited Grapel on Monday and found him in good health.


Grapel immigrated to Israel in 2005 from New York and served in the IDF in 2006's Second Lebanon War.



Friend of alleged Israeli spy detained in Egypt makes case for his innocence -

By Ronen Shnidman

Disbelief is the first feeling you have to overcome when you hear that your friend has been detained by Egypt’s dreaded secret police, the Mukhabarat.

That it would be someone like Ilan Grapel is perhaps the clearest sign that Egypt’s revolution may improve things for some Egyptians, but it marks an increasing strain in Israeli-Egyptian relations.

Ilan was a dove at a time when the Israeli left had all but collapsed and when American Jewish immigrants to Israel expressing such views had become an endangered species.

That a former IDF veteran − shot during the Second Lebanon War − would be so committed to peaceful coexistence with Israel’s many non-Jewish citizens and neighbors may seem surprising.

But those who knew him on a personal level wouldn’t have been surprised − Ilan was always seeking to reach out and experience “the other” side. Ilan grew up in Queens, New York, and attended the Bronx High School of Science before matriculating at Johns Hopkins University. Even in high school, Ilan’s closest friends were mostly African-American teammates from the school’s basketball team, perhaps explaining his lifelong love of underground hip-hop.

I even remember that it was Ilan who introduced me to the avowedly political Palestinian rap group DAM while we were both working at The Israel Project − an NGO that provides factual information about Israel and the Middle East to press, policy makers and the public.

If you were starting to guess that Ilan is the type of person who marches to his own beat, you would be correct. His love of Arabic culture and the immense effort he put into learning the language ‏(which is what first brought him to Cairo’s American University a few years ago‏) wouldn’t make him that unusual in Israel.

The fact he chose to go by the name “Illanhu Akbar” around the offices of an organization often tasked with presenting some of the region’s most delicate issues to the outside world, would. His sense of humor was interesting, to say the least.

Ilan and I never became the closest of friends. But we always kept in touch. He even told me, around Passover time, of his plans to head back to Egypt, and I thought nothing of it. Typical Ilan.

To those who might seek to make the facile comparison between Ilan and another Jewish leftist from New York, Lori Berenson, don’t bother.

Yes, both these individuals wanted to experience a revolution and history in the making in countries suffering from severe corruption, poverty, and police abuse. But Berenson assisted known and admitted terrorists in Peru.

Ilan was volunteering with an NGO, working on refugees’ rights, and went to Tahrir Square to take some photos and perhaps − if you believe the official Egyptian media account; I don’t − joining in some protest chants. If he hadn’t been a dual American-Israeli citizen, he would probably still be moving around the streets of Cairo.

Despite his lack of caution, Ilan represented some of the best impulses and hopes of the American liberal democracy he grew up in. And now he is sitting in a prison somewhere in Cairo.

I guess he − like many more veteran members of the Israeli left − has learned to his disappointment that the Middle East just ain’t that kind of neighborhood.







http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4081873,00.html

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/friend-of-alleged-israeli-spy-detained-in-egypt-makes-case-for-his-innocence-1.367569


Added: Jun-14-2011 Occurred On: Jun-14-2011
By: aydeo
In:
Other Middle East
Tags: Egyptian Media, Israeli-American, Cairo, spy, Muslim Brotherhood
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