Video: Egypt state TV interviews Israeli, break anti-normalisation rule

Ahram Online, Thursday 9 Aug 2012

Nile News violates media syndicate rule by interviewing an Israeli political analyst about Sinai attacks; manager claims production mistake

An Egyptian state-run TV channel has broken a media syndicate rule against recognising Israel by inviting an Israeli political analyst to discuss Sunday's fatal events in North Sinai.

The Nile News satellite channel interviewed the Israeli military expert by telephone on a Tuesday programme dealing with the aftermath of the fatal attack on Egyptian border guards near the Rafah crossing with Gaza which left 16 dead and dozens injured.

The Tel Aviv-based analyst called on Egypt and Israel to co-operate more closely to avoid future attacks, adding that Israel did not believe the attack was the work of Palestinians nor that it originated from the Gaza Strip.

The National Association for Change has severely criticised newly-appointed Information Minister Salah Abdel-Maqsoud for allowing an Israeli on Egyptian television.

The group is calling for the minister to be removed, urging the Press Syndicate of which he is a member to punish him, saying he violated one of the syndicate's general assembly decrees.

The assembly bans professional normalisation with the "Zionist entity" in any form.

The statement went on to accuse Abdel-Maqsoud, who was labelled a 'Muslim Brother', of allowing more normalisation with Israel than ousted president Hosni Mubarak ever permitted.

Since Egypt signed the Camp David treaty in 1979, the country has had diplomatic and political relations with Israel. However, several Egyptian syndicates, which represent workers in key professions, retain strict anti-normalisation positions.

The manager of Nile News, Sameh Ragaey, told Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website on Tuesday that the interview of the Israeli expert was due to a "wrong decision" made by the programme's newscaster.

Demands to revise the Camp David treaty, unpopular with many Egyptians, have steadily increased since Egypt's 18-day uprising.

The peace agreement limits Egypt's military presence in Sinai, leading some political figures this week to blame the pact for the security vacuum in the peninsula that they believe help facilitate Sunday's attack.

Short link: