A United States-based organization's conference on breast cancer awareness, to be hosted in Egypt, has been touted by international news networks as an example of “unprecedented cooperation” in the region. However, according to Channel 2 news, the celebration of unity may be premature, as Israeli doctors were told at the last minute that their invitations to participate had been rescinded.
The conference will be held in Alexandria, Egypt this week, under the auspices of the American group Susan G. Komen for the Cure – the world's largest breast cancer advocacy organization. It is to include meetings between leading researchers from the U.S. and several Mideast countries.
Israeli doctors were invited to the event as well, and several had planned to attend. However, on Sunday night, the doctors received brief notices telling them that they were no longer invited to the conference, by order of Egyptian Health Minister Hatem el-Gabali.
The notices did not include an explanation of Gabali's decision.
Despite the cancellation of the Israeli presence at the event, Egyptian officials continued to praise the event as an example of regional cooperation. “The week's events are a demonstration of the cooperation between countries, governments, civil society, advocates, survivors, and the global community as a whole,” Dr. Mohammed Shaalan of Egypt's Breast Cancer Foundation told Reuters on Monday. “It shows that breast cancer has no boundaries and reveals the beauty of the world's unity in its fight against breast cancer.”