Egypt political figures, forces voice outrage over Israeli aggression in Gaza

Ahram Online, Thursday 15 Nov 2012

Following latest Israeli assault on besieged Gaza Strip, Egyptian political parties and groups call for severing all ties with 'Zionist entity'

Palestinian mourners carry body of Hamas' top military commander Ahmed al-Jaabari, killed in an Israeli strike on Wednesday, during his funeral in Gaza City, Thursday (Photo: AP)

Egyptian political forces and public figures reacted angrily to Israel's military operations in the Gaza Strip Wednesday, which killed top Hamas commander Ahmed Al-Jaabari and 13 others.

Egypt's Salafist Nour Party stated in a press release that it would support the Palestinians of Gaza "financially, and with the necessary manpower," until all Palestinian rights were obtained. The party also offered its condolences to the Palestinian people for the deaths of Al-Jaabari and others.

The Muslim Brotherhood, from which Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi hails, called for mass protests Thursday and Friday in response to the Israeli assault. It stated that Israel's "criminal aggression" posed a "serious threat" to stability in the region.

Saad El-Katatni, head of the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), declared via Twitter on Wednesday that the Israeli attack on Gaza meant that "Israel had not yet realised that Egypt had changed and that the Egyptian people who revolted against injustice would not accept the aggression against Gaza."     

FJP Vice-Chairman Essam El-Erian, however, was criticised when he commented via Twitter: "How can it be that our eastern borders are witnessing the start of a war and we don't have a functioning parliament?" Some saw El-Erian's comment as politically opportunist and disrespectful to those killed in Gaza.

Abdel-Moneim Aboul-Fotouh, former presidential candidate and head of the Strong Egypt Party, for his part, described recent events in Gaza as "a brutal escalation of the Zionists' insistence on assaulting the Palestinian people."

He added that resistance against illegal occupation was "a right guaranteed by international conventions," stressing that it was a "moral duty" to support the Palestinian resistance against Israeli aggression occupation.

Liberal figures and parties echoed this condemnation, emphasising Israel's breaches of international human rights conventions.

The Constitution Party, founded by reform campaigner Mohamed ElBaradei, on Wednesday condemned the "barbaric attacks carried out by Israel, which blatantly breach the international conventions and humanitarian law to which it is a signatory."

"Following the 25 January Revolution, the Egyptian state cannot act in the same way that it used to in the past," the party added. It went on to praise the Egyptian government's decision to recall Egypt's ambassador to Israel, Atef Mohamed Salam, but stressed the need to set "a clear policy" on such attacks with the aim of preventing them from happening in the future.

ElBaradei stated on Thursday afternoon that, in the absence of a true balance of power between the Arabs and Israel – with the Arabs divided and the Palestinian  body politic fragmented – the massacres of innocent people would continue unless a robust plan was pursued aimed at resolving the conflict. 

Former foreign minister and Arab League chief Amr Moussa called on the league to take "all necessary measures" in dealing with the Israeli aggression. Commenting on Twitter, Moussa also commended the government's decision to recall Egypt's ambassador to Israel. 

Prominent political analyst and former MP Amr Hamzawy gave his assessment of the timing of Israel's aggression. "Israeli presidential contenders are set to offer Palestinian blood as a prize on the altar of electoral politics," Hamzawy said, referring to upcoming Israeli general elections.

Hamzawy also commended Egypt's decision to recall its ambassador, adding it was Egypt's responsibility to protect the Palestinian people from the aggression of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Nasserist leader of the Egyptian Popular Current, Hamdeen Sabbahi, who adopted a strong anti-Israel platform during the 2012 presidential elections, asserted: "Glory to the Palestinian resistance and victory to Gaza!"

The National Front for Justice and Democracy, meanwhile, an umbrella group of leftist activists, rejected the Muslim Brotherhood's official reaction to the Israeli assaults, accusing the group of "exploiting Palestinian bloodshed for its own domestic political interests." It called on Egypt's presidency to adopt a clear policy vis-a-vis Israeli aggression.

The Revolutionary Socialists movement, for its part, called for all forms of political and economic normalisation with the Zionist entity to be severed. "When will the time come to cut all ties with the enemy if not now?" the movement asked in a statement.

The group further asserted that the Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel should be terminated; that Egypt should reassume full sovereignty over the entire Sinai Peninsula; and that the Rafah border crossing linking Egypt and the Gaza Strip be opened on a permanent basis.

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