A commentator in Egypt’s largest independent daily newspaper has accused “international Zionism” of being behind Friday’s mosque massacre in North Sinai.Abdul-Nassar Salama, writing Monday in al-Masry al-Youm, argued that Israel was interested in emptying Sinai of its inhabitants and reoccupying it as part of an expansionist agenda. Salama quoted a tribal leader in Sinai, Aref al-Akir, as having said on television that the carnage, in which 305 people were killed, was “manufactured” by Israel in order to empty Sinai. “We should take this seriously,” Salama advised.“When incidents large or small happen in any place, the criminal investigation should start with the question ‘Who is benefiting?’” Salama wrote.“When the event is so big it goes beyond criminal groups and when the incident is so big it goes beyond the level of humanity, then we should direct the motive to inhumane characters. There is nothing more criminal than international Zionism. We have a history of recorded massacres committed by them.”He continued, “No one can deny that only Israel is interested in emptying Sinai of its citizens. Nobody denies that Israel wishes to return to Sinai.It is the spot where God spoke to Moses his prophet.”Israel reportedly supplies intelligence information to Egypt to help it combat Islamic State insurgents. Nonetheless, Salama wrote that it is bent on weakening Egypt. “There is an alternative scheme reflected in the events in Sinai,” he wrote.“They want to create instability in Sinai so there will be no investment and tourism and to chase out its inhabitants and this is the most dangerous thing Egypt has suffered in the last half century.”Salama asserted that tourism revenues and investments that Egypt has lost because of the Sinai instability have wound up in Israeli hands. “Israel has become the most secure place for tourism and investment in the region,” he wrote. He claimed that “The confusion and tension in Egypt caused many young Egyptians to go to work in Israel and marry Israeli women and this is another catastrophe.”Furthermore, Salama explained that Israel is benefiting from the “confusion” caused by the Sinai violence since it diverts Cairo’s energies from supporting the Palestinians and backing other Arab causes. “Egypt has always been the incubator and supporter of all the just causes in the region, such as making the Middle East free of mass destruction weapons. But now a vacuum has been caused and Israel has filled it with relations with Arab capitals, particularly the Gulf States,” he wrote.Salama added that “No one can deny that weakening the Egyptian army is an Israeli goal.” He devoted part of his article to quoting an author, Jamal Hamdan, who wrote that the battle with Israel is “a struggle for survival literally, them or us, not a struggle for borders but for existence.” He also quoted Hamdan as writing that Israel was intent on having an empire stretch from the Nile to the Euphrates, which meant “emptying the region of its original inhabitants and legitimate owners gradually.”Salama lamented that most Egyptian opinion-makers are not blaming Israel for the massacre. He maintained that there has been a dangerous warming towards Israel in the media, in politics and among intellectuals. “Warm peace and American involvement and financial and media control in this matter have cast a heavy shadow on the Egyptian mind,” he concluded.Meanwhile, Egypt has informed Israeli ambassador to Cairo David Govrin that it rejects statements made earlier this month by Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel calling for the establishment of a Palestinian state in Sinai, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said.“The Egyptian land in Sinai, which was watered with the blood of our sons and martyrs is not something that can be given away or allowed to be attacked,” Egyptian news site Ahram Online quoted Shoukry as saying on the Kol Youm television show.