On May 16, 2022, ECFA received a delegation of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), at the request of the Organization’s Liaison Office in Cairo. It was headed by General Patrick Gauchat, head of the UNTSO Office coming from Jerusalem, while ECFA side included ambassadors: Dr. Mounir Zahran, ECFA Chairman, Dr. Ezzat Saad, ECFA Director, and Dr. Alaa Al-Hadidi, ECFA member. The meeting was opened by Ambassador Zahran, then he asked about the delegation’s opinion regarding the killing of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh at the hands of the Israeli occupation army during her press coverage of the storming of these elements into the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank on May 11, 2022, as the head of the delegation expressed his deep regret about that horrific incident, noting that the Israelis themselves feel and acknowledge that something went wrong in this regard, adding that the mission of the delegation is to monitor the border line drawn by the United Nations, noting that the mission of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO) includes covering such incidents and submitting relevant reports to the United Nations in New York.
In response to an inquiry about not publishing the UNTSO annual reports, the bodies authorized to consider them, and whether the UNTSO has a presence in Jordan, the head of the delegation explained that the organization has reports, but they are not necessarily periodic, and they are submitted to peacekeeping bodies, such as the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), and the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force in the Golan Heights (UNDOF), and even some officials from the concerned states. He also pointed out that the UNTSO reports are discussed in the Fifth Committee at the annual sessions of the United Nations General Assembly, not in the Security Council. In a related context, the head of the delegation explained that there is an office for the UNTSO in Amman, Jordan, but it is operated by civilians, not military personnel.
In response to the delegation’s inquiry about the Egypt-Lebanon agreement regarding gas, which is scheduled to pass through Syria, and its role in supporting the stability of the region, Ambassador Al-Hadidi replied that the Egyptian move in this context is mainly related to an attempt to enhance Egyptian national security, by achieving stability in the region, including Egypt’s historical and crucial role towards its Arab brethren, to support them and enhance cooperation among them.
On the other hand, ECFA members stressed the need for the Ukrainian crisis not to affect the support that is hoped to be given to the Palestinian cause. Ambassador Dr. Ezzat Saad indicated in this regard that it is necessary for the West to realize the negative effects raised by its double standards, noting that European countries opened their borders to Ukrainian refugees, and condemned Russia, while the Palestinians have been extremely suffering for seven decades, while the West did not stop the Israeli violations in the occupied Palestinian territories. Ambassador Saad also affirmed that Arab public opinion has had enough of Western policies in this regard, and that if an end to these Israeli violations is not put, Iran and other organizations seen as terrorist, such as Hezbollah and Hamas, will always find a justification for their intransigent policies, on the pretext of resisting the Israeli aggression in Palestine, and the serious negative repercussions of that on security and stability in the region, adding that it is hoped that the Biden administration will take positive steps in this file.