Egypt parliament to discuss draft law boycotting US products over Jerusalem decision

Gamal Essam El-Din , Sunday 17 Dec 2017

Egypt parliament to discuss draft law boycotting US products over Jerusalem decision (Photo: Ahram)

The speaker of Egypt’s parliament Ali Abdel-Aal told MPs in a plenary session on Sunday that a draft law aimed at boycotting American products over US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has been referred to parliamentary committees for discussion.

The bill was referred to the House’s committees on economic affairs, defence and national security, Arab affairs, and foreign affairs, who will discuss the bill and prepare a report on it.

The law, drafted by MP Mohamed Abdel-Ghani and endorsed by 60 MPs as required by the constitution, seeks to impose a total boycott on the import and handling of American products in Egypt.

Abdel-Ghani, who represents East Cairo’s El-Zeitoun district, said the draft law comes as a natural response to Trump’s decision, which parliament discussed in its morning session on Sunday.

Speaker Abdel-Aal described Trump’s decision as “irrational and reckless,” adding that Egypt’s moves in the UN Security Council to invalidate the decision are “honourable.”

"Jerusalem will remain an Arab city," said Abdel-Aal, adding that Egypt has fought four wars for the city in 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973.

“Egypt’s moves came immediately in the aftermath of the American administration’s reckless decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”

Abdel-Aal also praised the decision by Al-Azhar's Grand Imam Ahmed El-Tayeb and Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II to cancel meetings with US Vice President Mike Pence during his visit to Cairo this week in protest over the Jerusalem move.

“On behalf of MPs, I wholeheartedly thank the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and Pope Tawadors II for their honourable and magnificent decision not to meet with the US vice president,” said Abdel-Aal.

Pence is expected to visit Israel and Egypt next Wednesday and Thursday.

Most MPs, especially leftists, attacked Trump’s decision.

Leftist MP Diaaeddin Dawoud said the best response to Trump’s decision is to impose a total boycott on the import and handling of American products in Egypt and other Arab and Muslim countries.

“This boycott is important as the language of interests is the only language Americans know and understand,” said Dawoud.

Dawoud also urged Arab leaders to cut their relations with the United States and President Trump.

“Please know that America will never be a partner to the Arab countries, please know that all America wants is to exploit this region for its own interests and impose its hegemony on the entire world,” said Dawoud.

Abdel-Hamid Kamal, an MP affiliated with the leftist El-Tagammu Party, also urged speaker Abdel-Aal to refer a draft law on boycotting American products to the legislative and constitutional affairs committee for discussion.

“A boycott of American and Israeli products would be successful only if it takes the form of a binding legislation,” said Kamal.

Kamal Ahmed, a Nasserist MP from Alexandria, described the US administration’s policies towards the Palestinians as “aggressive."

“After beginning by shutting down the PLO’s office in America three weeks ago, the US administration followed by revoking a $300 million loan to the Palestinian Authority,” said Ahmed.

“Trump has a lot of problems in America and his decision on Jerusalem is to satisfy Washington’s Zionist circles, which have a lot of influence in American politics,” said Ahmed.  

MPs stood for a minute during the session as a show of respect and appreciation for the Palestinians who decided to stand firm and protest Trump’s decision. A number of MPs also came to parliament wearing sashes bearing the words "Jerusalem is Arab."

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