Egypt wants probe into 'IDF massacre'

Report says Ben Eliezer headed a unit that killed 250 Egyptian POWs in 1967.

ben eliezer 298  (photo credit: )
ben eliezer 298
(photo credit: )
National Infrastructures Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer of Labor may be joining the long list of political officials currently under investigation, following a claim that the reconnaissance unit he commanded during the Six Day War killed 250 prisoners of war. Egyptian parliamentarians are demanding that the IDF investigate whether Ben-Eliezer's elite Shaked unit killed the prisoners. Dr. Mustafa al-Faki, chairman of the Egyptian legislature's Foreign Affairs Committee, denounced what he called the "massacre of helpless Egyptian soldiers," adding that it was the first time evidence had been presented proving that "Israeli hands are drenched with the blood of Egyptian prisoners." Last week, Channel 1 aired Ruah Shaked (The Spirit of Shaked), a documentary compiled by journalist Ran Edilist. It claimed that Ben-Eliezer's unit killed 250 unarmed Egyptian prisoners of war in the Sinai desert after the fighting had stopped. Edward Rali, head of the Egyptian parliament's Committee for Human Rights, called for his panel to meet on Sunday to discuss "the Israeli massacre of innocent Egyptian soldiers, which represents a serious violation of human rights and international law." Ben-Eliezer, a former brigadier-general, told an Egyptian newspaper on Saturday that the accusations were inaccurate. Those killed, he said, were not Egyptian POWs, but rather Palestinian fedayun (suicide troops paid and trained by Egyptian intelligence) who were killed in battle. Former education minister Yossi Sarid told Egypt's Al-Ahram that the "killing of prisoners of war is a war crime with no statute of limitations. The problem, however," said the former Meretz chairman, "is that the region is filled with war crimes." Sarid told the paper he had not seen the documentary, but that he was aware that Israeli forces had committed such acts. "Punishing those responsible for these crimes is difficult due to the fact that 40 years have passed since the 1967 war, but history will judge these people," he said.