Ousted president of Egypt Hosni Mubarak knew in advance about the 2008 Israeli against Gaza his ex-foreign minister has claimed. "The attack," said Ahmed Abul-Ghait, "was needed by Israeli to consolidate its image which was shaken by its war against Lebanon war in 2006." The claim has been reported by the London based Asharq Alawsat newspaper.
It was assumed widely that Mubarak was told about the plans for the war during the then Israeli Foreign Minister's visit to Cairo on 25th December. According to Abul-Ghait, Mubarak "ignored intelligence reports" and went ahead with the visit, receiving Tzipi Livni at the Presidential Palace.
Abul-Ghait's recollection of events is given in his memoir, "My Testimony ... Egyptian Foreign Policy 2004-2011", to be published later this month. In it, he confirms that US and Israeli officials said that they intended to destroy Hamas infrastructure in Gaza and enable the Palestinian Liberation Organisation-controlled Palestinian Authority in Ramallah to regain control over the Gaza Strip.
What he calls "evil minded" ideas about handing the Gaza Strip to the Arab League or Egypt were presented behind closed doors. "Egypt completely refused those proposals," he claims.
The path to war is set out in some detail in the book. "The bombardment of Gaza increased in the first half of December 2008; Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Solaiman had talks with Hamas in Gaza and Damascus to persuade them not to escalate the situation; the Egyptian foreign ministry then called the Israelis, Americans and EU to caution them about the deteriorating situation in the region."
Israel's vicious war against civilians in Gaza in 2008/9 killed 1,400 Palestinians and wounded more than 5,000. Hundreds of homes were destroyed, as were schools, hospitals, mosques and UNRWA installations. The Israel Defence Forces used internationally-banned white phosphorus in residential areas. Experts have said that there is strong evidence that Israel also used depleted uranium and other unusual ammunition and weapons which have not yet been identified.