Egyptian authorities have given an Israeli music festival organiser the go-ahead to host a four day electronic music event in the country’s restive Sinai province.
Amid the gradual normalisation of social and cultural relations between Israel and Arab countries, Hashmaliko’s organisers desribe the participation of Israeli and Arab musicians as creating an “experience that goes beyond definitions, borders and nations”, according to the festival website.
The event will take place on Nubia beach, a resort 15km north of Nuweiba, a coastal town which lies on the eastern Sina peninsula. The Egyptian authorities will provide the festival with complimentary security, as well as on-site medical assistance.
Most of the performers are from Israel’s underground electronic music scene, along several acts from Egypt as well as one from Israel arch-rival Iran.
The main road leading into Nuweiba has been out of bounds to most Egyptians as a result of the heavy security presence in region, according to The New Arab’s Arabic-language sister site.
The government has fought a protracted war against an IS-affiliate in the province since 2013, with scores of soldiers and police officers killed amid a virtual media blackout.
Various human rights groups have criticised the war as a disproportionate war on civillians, accusing the Egyptian government of committing war crimes.
Children have been forcibly disappeared and imprisoned, while ordinary citizens have been extrajudicially killed and thousands of homes demolished.
Despite staunch support for the Palestinian cause which pervades public opinion in Egypt, domestic media under President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has contributed to feelings of animosity against Palestinians, including accusing prisoners of financing terror groups there, according to Middle East Monitor.
Cooperation between Israel and Egypt in the security and economic spheres, including a joint military air campaign in the province as well as $15 billion gas deal, have marked the dawn of a golden age in Egypt-Israel relations, analysts say.
On Wednesday, Egyptian workers constructed a concrete wall along its border with Gaza, stretching from strip’s south-eastern tip to the Rafah crossing, the only gateway out of Gaza that does not lead to Israel.