Egyptian Interior Minister Maj. Gen. Ahmed Gamal El Din has said that the residents of the Sinai are genuine partners in maintaining and establishing security, in coordination with the armed forces and security agencies. He stressed the importance of unifying all popular and official efforts to achieve security and stability in the Sinai.
In a meeting held on September 27 in the Sinai, the minister discussed with a delegation of tribal elders the current security situation in the region. He explained the main features of the new security policy, saying that it was consistent with the social characteristics and geographic and demographic nature of the region.
Ali Frek, a tribal elder from the Sinai and the head of the Arab Party for Justice and Equality, said that the Minister of Interior agreed during the meeting to involve the Sinai tribes in the security system and to allow them to protect their lands and territories, by being “appropriately” armed and trained to prevent smuggling and infiltration across the border [with Israel].
In a related context, a number of residents from the village of Mitkhakan in the Monufia governorate headed to Ismailia yesterday to receive the bodies of relatives who carried out an attack on an Israeli patrol near the border last Friday [September 21].
Dr. Ihsan Kamil Georgi, head of the Coroners Syndicate, said that the results of autopsies conducted on the bodies of the perpetrators of the attack will be announced September 29.
The elders of the Sinai tribes demanded the addition of an article to the constitution recognizing the “conventional justice system” [based on consensual tribal arbitration], which is followed in the tribal areas.
They criticized what they saw as “disregard” for the representation of the Sinai tribes in the Constituent Assembly.
In a hearing before the proposals commission in the Constituent Assembly September 27, elders stressed that the “conventional justice system” is consistent with the customs and traditions of the tribes, and does not serve as a substitute for civil justice but, rather, complements it.
Dr. Mohammed al-Beltagy, head of the Proposals Commission, asked the tribal chieftains to submit a draft of the article they wish to add to the new constitution, in a way that does not conflict with the law of the state.