Egyptian Parliament Expels Israeli Ambassador; Halts Gas Shipments


Global media has reported that the Egyptian parliament, dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists, voted unanimously voted on Monday in support of expelling Israel’s ambassador in Cairo and halting gas exports to the Jewish state. According to an AP report:

By Associated Press, Published: March 12 CAIRO — Egypt’s Islamist-dominated parliament unanimously voted on Monday in support of expelling Israel’s ambassador in Cairo and halting gas exports to the Jewish state. The motion is largely symbolic, because only the ruling military council can make such decisions, and it is not likely to impact Egypt’s relations with Israel. But it signals the seismic change in Egypt after the ouster of longtime leader and Israel ally Hosni Mubarak a year ago in a popular uprising that ended his 29 years in power. The vote was taken by a show of hands on a report by the chamber’s Arab affairs committee that declared Egypt will “never” be a friend, partner or ally of Israel. The report described Israel as the nation’s “number one enemy” and endorsed what it called Palestinian resistance “in all its kinds and forms” against Israel’s “aggressive policies.” There was no immediate comment from Israel on the vote by the People’s Assembly, the Egyptian parliament’s lower house. Egypt became the first Arab nation to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979. The treaty came six years after the two Middle East neighbors fought the last of their four wars. However, the accord produced a “cold” peace, and most Egyptians still view Israel as their nation’s enemy. There have been bouts of tension in relations between the two neighbors, mostly over Israel’s perceived reluctance to proceed in good faith with peace talks with the Palestinians, but leaders of the two nations have consistently kept open channels of communication. The parliamentary report also called for the recall of Egypt’s ambassador in Israel and a revision of Egypt’s nuclear power policy in view of the widespread suspicion that Israel has a nuclear arsenal of its own. “Revolutionary Egypt will never be a friend, partner or ally of the Zionist entity (Israel), which we consider to be the number one enemy of Egypt and the Arab nation,” said the report. “It will deal with that entity as an enemy, and the Egyptian government is hereby called upon to review all its relations and accords with that enemy.” Monday’s vote by parliament could serve as an indication of what may lie ahead.”

Meanwhile, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said last week that he believes, based on assurances he received from the Brotherhood, that that the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty would survive. According to a Washington Times report:

The former president, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002, predicted that the Camp David Accords, the 1979 peace treaty he brokered between Egypt and Israel, would survive the rise to power of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Mr. Carter said he has met recently with the Muslim Brotherhood’s political and religious leadership, and “they know it’s very important to Egypt to maintain peace with Israel.”“They assured me personally — and they have made public statements accordingly — that they will honor the peace treaty that I helped to negotiate back in 1979 … and I don’t have any doubt that they will carry out their promise to me.”

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