Bedouins urge Sinai development, land ownership

Several Sinai Bedouins have called on the Egyptian government to immediately undertake a project to develop Sinai and ease restrictions on investments there.

At a conference on Tuesday, representatives of Bedouin tribes expressed support for the goals of the Egyptian uprising and pledged to continue defending Egypt's eastern borders in cooperation with the armed forces.

At the conference, titled "The Future of Sinai after the Revolution," Bedouin representatives called on officials to intervene for the release of Egyptians held in Israeli prisons.

In their closing statement, the tribes called for the abolition of restrictions on investments in Sinai, the implementation of a genuine developmental program in Sinai, and the reversing of rulings issued against Sinai residents.

They also called for compensating Bedouins who had been detained, achieving genuine reconciliation, and allowing Bedouins land ownership and treating them on equal footing with all Egyptians.

Sekina Fouad, a journalist who participated in the conference, called for the formation of a committee of Bedouins to meet officials to present their demands and solve their problems.

Osama al-Ghazali Harb, president of the Democratic Front Party, accused the ousted regime of insisting on marginalizing Sinai and looking down on Bedouins to the point of oppressing them.

George Ishaq, former coordinator for the Kefaya movement, said Sinai Bedouins provided the first spark for 25 January revolution by defying the state of emergency and staging protests following the Taba and Sharm el-Sheikh bombings, when large numbers of Bedouins were arbitrarily arrested.

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