by Benny Tocker
Ex-ambassador says huge majority that voted to dismiss MP who met Israeli shows 'the basic enmity in Arab states towards Israel.'
A full 467 out of the 595 Egyptian members of parliament voted on Wednesday to dismiss MP Tawfik Okasha, who was ousted for the "crime" of meeting with Israel's ambassador to the Nile state, again raising doubts about the 1979 peace treaty.
Okasha even had a shoe thrown at his head by another MP in a traditional Arabic insult as he was berated for meeting Israel's Ambassador to Egypt Haim Koren, who on Thursday tried to play down the tensions with Egypt.
In order to better understand the situation, Arutz Sheva spoke with former Israeli Ambassador to Egypt Tzvi Mazel, who said Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi wants to preserve the peace treaty but doesn't want to clash with Egypt's parliament now.
"Those in the parliament are the elite who have boycotted Israel since 1980," said Mazel. "It's clear that if the parliament voted to cancel the peace treaties, al-Sisi would get involved."
According to the ex-ambassador, "there is security cooperation and the government of Egypt needs it. But al-Sisi will not fight the parliament because he wants to preserve the stability in Egypt, and he doesn't want to stand the legislature and the elite against him."
"But there's no doubt we received a slap in the face, after 37 years that there's such a large majority in favor of getting rid of someone who dared to meet with an ambassador of Israel - that teaches about the basic enmity that exists in Arab states towards Israel."
Aside from Okasha's dismissal, that hostility was recently shown again Wednesday when Egypt's soccer association rejected a friendly match against Israel.
A recent poll found that Egyptians see Israel as the "most hostile" of their neighbors, despite the peace treaty, and back in 2013, the movement that led opposition to former Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi said it would work to cancel the peace treaty.
Mazel said that al-Sisi has done a lot in order to rehabilitate Egypt, saying, "a year ago he said that the Islam of today is not appropriate for the 21st century."
"Al-Sisi is doing incredible things, he launched a campaign of economic investments, and he invites countries like China, Saudi Arabia and lands of the East to invest, he opened Egypt to those searching for oil and gas, he's building agricultural territories and establishing a new capital east of Cairo that all of the governmental institutions will move to."
"It's hard for him because the West and America betrayed him, even the European Union is renouncing him because he ousted President Morsi, even though he's the one who basically saved Egypt from a dictator," said Mazel.
Indicating how ties with Israel have improved under al-Sisi, just last week President Reuven Rivlin accepted the credentials of Egypt's new Ambassador to Israel, Hazem Ahdy Khairat, marking the end of a more than three-year period without any Egyptian Ambassador to Israel.
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