Egyptian lawmakers demand dismissal of Israeli ambassador

Ahram Online, Monday 13 May 2013

Islamist MPs want the Israeli ambassador to Egypt removed because of the recent attacks on Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem

Members of the Shura Council, Egypt’s upper house of parliament, requested on Monday the removal of the Israeli ambassador from Egypt and the withdrawal of his Egyptian counterpart in Tel Aviv in response to the continuing assaults against Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.

Shura Council Speaker Ahmed Fahmy pointed out during a meeting that the Council does not have the authority to remove the ambassador.

However, he promised he would pass the request on to the cabinet.

The demand was supported by several MPs, but was initiated by MP Mohamed El-Sagheer of the Building and Development Party, the political arm of the ultra-conservative Islamist group Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya.

The Arab League held a special meeting on Sunday to denounce recent attacks by Jewish settlers on Al-Asqa mosque, and to decide on a definitive stance to take on the issue.

On Friday, dozens of Islamist protesters gathered at Al-Azhar mosque in Cairo after noon prayers to denounce Israeli assaults on Syria and the arrest of Palestine’s top Muslim cleric.

Relations between Egypt and Israel have been strained since Egypt's January 2011 uprising, which culminated in the ouster of longstanding president Hosni Mubarak.

Many Egyptians demand the modification – or abrogation – of the 1978 Camp David Accords between the two nations.

In 2011, several protests were held by Egyptian pro-Palestinian groups outside the Israeli embassy in Cairo to pressure Egypt's then-ruling supreme military council to expel the Israeli ambassador.

In September 2011, protesters stormed the embassy building. Since then, Israel has continued to look for a new building to host its diplomatic mission.

Last November, Israeli ambassador in Cairo Yaacov Amitai, who has been Israeli ambassador to Egypt since December 2011, was summoned to the Egyptian foreign ministry in protest at the ongoing Israeli military offensive against the Gaza Strip.

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