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Dinner with Israel's ambassador earns 'anti-Zionist' Egyptian MP Okasha criticism

The controversial TV host and parliamentarian, who regularly renounces an 'American-Israeli conspiracy' against Egypt, was called out on actions by many critics

Ahram Online , Thursday 25 Feb 2016
Egyptian MP Okasha (Reuters)
Egyptian MP Okasha (Reuters)
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Controversial TV host and MP Tawfik Okasha had dinner on Wednesday with the Israeli ambassador in Egypt and talked politics, news website Youm7 reported.

The website reported that Okasha is the one who invited Israeli ambassador Haim Koren to his home in Dakahliya governorate in the central Delta.

Okasha -- who is known for his grandstanding on TV and in public life -- reportedly discussed several local and regional issues with the Israeli diplomat including the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the construction of the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

Youm7 ran several photos of the gathering showing Okasha, Ambassador Koren, and another official chatting in a living room.

The reported dinner sparked outrage on social media by many users who criticised Okasha for hypocrisy since he made his opposition to "an American-Zionist conspiracy to destablise Egypt" a hallmark of his one-man show on his Faraeen TV channel.

Mostafa Bakry, an MP and TV presenter, who also subscribes to the American-Zionist conspiracy theories, slammed Okasha's actions as "unforgivable treason" and a "shame."

Veteran radio host Hamdi El-Konayesi, the head of the under-construction Media Workers Syndicate slammed Okasha's behaviour as unacceptable.

"I reject any kind of public normalization of relations with Israel, [a country] which does not respect the Camp David Treaty and currently practices the worst kind of occupation in Palestinian territories," El-Konayesi told Ahram Arabic news website.

In statements to Al-Watan Daily, the controversial MP claimed that he had informed the Egyptian authorities apriori of his meeting with the Israeli ambassador.

The Egyptian government has not commented on Okasha's allegations.

Earlier this week, an announcement  by Avichay Adraee, Israel's Army spokesman, that a group of Egyptian journalists had recently visited Israel also sparked public controversy.

Many Egyptians, including workers' unions and professional syndicates, have rejected the normalisation of Egyptian-Israeli relations since Cairo and Tel-Aviv signed a peace treaty in 1979.

The Journalists' Syndicate, which opposes normalisation of ties with Israel, denied prior knowledge of the reported visit by some of its members to Tel-Aviv.

In January, Egypt sent a new ambassador to Israel following a three-year lapse after ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi recalled the ambassador to Tel-Aviv in November 2012. 

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