Egypt’s ambassador to Israel was summoned this week to discuss with Deputy Foreign Minister Eli Dayan the continuing appearance of accusations against Israel in the Egyptian media.
Egyptian newspapers have been reporting since last summer that Israeli soldiers killed Egyptian prisoners of war during the 1956 Sinai Campaign and the 1967 Six-Day War.
Recent newspaper reports allege that Israel used the POWs’ body parts for transplants and medical experiments.
This week, Ambassador Mohammed Basiouny said that Egypt was not trying to worsen ties with Israel. He added, however, that the matter must be investigated.
“We would like to start an investigation to find out” where the truth is, Basiouny said after meeting with Dayan.
Dayan said the issue prompted Egypt not to invite Israel to the International Book Fair in Cairo scheduled for next month.
“Not only are we not invited to Cairo, we have learned that they will have a special day devoted to the issue of Egyptian prisoners of war,” he said.
The issue first entered public debate after an Israeli reserve army general said last year in a newspaper interview that Israeli soldiers had killed Egyptian POWs during the 1956 Sinai Campaign.
Since then, Egypt has issued repeated demands that the matter be investigated and that those responsible be put on trial.
Israeli officials have neither confirmed nor denied the allegations.
But in an effort to calm the situation, Israel agreed to appoint a reserve army general, former Tel Aviv Mayor Shlomo Lahat, to investigate the allegations and report the results to Cairo.