ISSN 2330-717X

Israeli Ambassador Flees From Cairo – OpEd

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By Seyyed Mohiyeddin Sajedi

The Israeli ambassador and other Israeli diplomats have been forced to hurriedly leave the Egyptian capital on Friday in a move, which does not seem to be reversible.

Those, who attacked the three topmost floors, housing the Israeli embassy in an 18-floor building, had previously gathered in Cairo’s Liberation Square to demand the correction of the course of the Egyptian revolution, which in February toppled Hosni Mubarak from his presidential seat after 30 years of undisputed rule.

Anti-Israeli movements have increased over the past weeks. Moreover, a number of people have been gathering in front of the Israeli embassy in protest every Friday during the past weeks.

The protesters’ sentiment was further inflamed in August, when Israel violated the country’s territory, killing five Egyptian border guards in the Sinai Desert.

Israel did not bring itself to apologize to Egypt. The latter’s ruling military council also tried to calmly resolve the issue, even omitting any threat to summon the Egyptian ambassador from Tel Aviv from its news.

Tel Aviv likewise withheld an apology for its May 2010 attack in the international waters against Turkey’s Mavi Marmara vessel.

Ankara downgraded its diplomatic relations with Tel Aviv to second-secretary level and cut all the bilateral military ties.

The Egyptians did in Cairo what the new Egyptian government has been rendered incapable of doing under the US pressure.

During the protests, aimed at toppling Mubarak, Tel Aviv was hopeful that the bilateral political relations would not be harmed as the people’s major demand was to oust the Egyptian dictator and their slogans did not bear anything against Tel Aviv.

The military council, which replaced Mubarak’s regime, had also assured the United States and Israel that the Camp David (peace) Accords would remain in effect. This led some analysts to wrongly think that the Egyptian revolution was influenced by social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter, which themselves feel indebted to the US — the technology’s main owner. They, thus, surmised that Israel, being the US main ally in the Middle East, would be immune to the revolution’s aftereffects.

The Israelis’ prejudice, however, led them to a fatal mistake, i.e. killing of the Egyptian border guards, while tracing a number of guerillas, who had killed eight Israeli troopers in a military operation.

Probably, the Israelis thought that Mubarak was still in power in Cairo and that they can suffice to offer a lackluster apology and even demand one from Egypt later.

The fact is that the Camp David Accords had been imposed by a dictatorial establishment on the Egyptians and had never felt natural among them. The treaty was not put to referendum in Egypt. Like other dictators, the former Egyptian president, Anwar Sadat, who forfeited his life over the treaty, considered himself as representing the public conscience of the society.

“Cold peace” replaced the war between Egypt and Israel. However, Egyptian people, syndicates and opposition parties would banish anybody who got close to Israel. Due to the pressure of public opinion, Hosni Mubarak did not dare to visit Israel throughout 30 years of his rule. He only went there once to attend the funeral of former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Robin.

The Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis were absent in Cairo’s last Friday demonstrations. Salafis staged million-strong protests a few weeks ago, which became known as “Kandahar Friday.” The underlying discourse of that protest was similar to the Taliban in Afghanistan and some of the protesters even carried the Taliban and Saudi flags.

Some analysts believe that the absence of the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis in recent demonstrations signals the restoration of balance in Egypt’s political scene. Perhaps, the sheer size of the demonstrations and the participation of political parties and youth in them had led to this conclusion. The young members of Muslim Brotherhood took part in the demonstrations, in defiance of the position of their leaders. The Brotherhood did not even take part in the demonstrations staged outside the Israeli embassy to protest at the killing of five Egyptian border guards. The organization preferred, instead, to take sides with the ruling military council in order not to scare the West.

During last Friday’s protests, the Egyptian demonstrators called for immediate transfer of power from the military council to civil institutions. Demonstrators then moved toward a Cairo square, in front of the Ministry of Justice, to voice their protest to the way Mubarak and his aides were tried.

The embattled Egyptian government has built a concrete war before the Israeli embassy to protect it against possible attacks. The wall was partly destroyed by the demonstrators as people were trying to reach the top three levels of the building. Hundreds of official Israeli documents were found by people who threw many of them out of the windows into the street. The publication of these documents will probably lead to new scandals for Israel.

It would be very unjust to describe the attack on Israel’s embassy in Cairo an act of hysteria. Israel’s frequent mistakes are to blame for the incident. Attacking the Egyptian border guards on the Egyptian soil released the Egypt’s revolution from the pressure of customary diplomatic relations. Israel still acts in a way as if nothing has changed in the Middle East.

The United States will be repeating the same mistake by vetoing the recognition of the Palestinian state in the United Nations Security Council. Perhaps there would be no attack on the US embassy. The unpopularity of Abu Mazen in Egypt will probably prevent the outburst of revolutionary sentiments, especially taking into account that his plan would sacrifice 80 percent of the original Palestinian territories. However, everybody is fed-up with the United States’ frequent vetoes.

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Press TV is a 24-hour English language global news network owned by Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB). Its headquarters are located in Tehran, Iran. Press TV carries news analysis, documentary talk shows and sports news worldwide with special focus on West Asia, Central Asia, and the Middle East.

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