Egypt’s parliament follows Jordan’s in call to expel Israeli envoy
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Egypt’s parliament follows Jordan’s in call to expel Israeli envoy

Government minister promises to convey legislators’ angry sentiments to President Morsi

Elhanan Miller is the former Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

An Egyptian man chants anti-Israeli slogans during a Muslim Brotherhood-staged anti-Israel rally in Cairo on Friday. Meanwhile, a youth activist was detained Friday for 'incitement' a few days after he expressed criticism of Morsi's party via his movement's website (photo credit: Khalil Hamra/AP)
An Egyptian man chants anti-Israeli slogans during a Muslim Brotherhood-staged anti-Israel rally in Cairo on Friday. Meanwhile, a youth activist was detained Friday for 'incitement' a few days after he expressed criticism of Morsi's party via his movement's website (photo credit: Khalil Hamra/AP)

Less than a week after the Jordanian parliament voted in favor of expelling the Israeli ambassador from Amman, Egypt’s upper house followed suit, demanding the ambassador’s “immediate banishment” from Cairo.

Members of Egypt’s Shura Council held a special session on Monday dedicated to Israel’s “recent flagrant aggression against the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” establishment daily Al-Ahram reported. Although the matter of expelling Israeli ambassador Yaakov Amitai was not brought to a vote as it was in Jordan, pivotal parliamentarians including the speaker of the house and the head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice bloc supported the move.

“This request expresses the pulse of the Egyptian people,” said parliament speaker Ahmad Fahmi; as a member of the Islamist Building and Development party, Mohammed Saghir called on President Mohammed Morsi to take a stand “compatible with revolutionary Egypt.”

The Jordanian parliament unanimously voted in favor of expelling Israeli ambassador Daniel Nevo from Amman on May 8, following Israeli police restrictions on Palestinian prayer on the Temple Mount during Jerusalem Day.

In both cases, the parliaments’ calls had no operative consequences, but they underlined mounting hostility to Israel from MPs in both countries.

Issam Al-Aryan, head of the Muslim Brotherhood bloc in parliament, said Egypt should pursue Israel at the International Criminal Court.

“The recent [Israeli] aggression [in Syria] is part of a plan to deflect the attention of the Arab world from its true battle with the oldest occupation on the face of the earth,” Aryan was quoted by independent Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm as saying.

“We should examine our relations with this entity.”

Newly appointed Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Hatem Begato told the assembly that matters pertaining to Egypt’s diplomatic ties with other countries are under the exclusive discretion of the president, but promised to convey the parliament’s rage to President Morsi.

“This spirit is what animates the government,” Begato said according to Al-Masry Al-Youm, but hinted that considering Egypt was bound by internationaly recognized treaties, little would change on the ground.

“All options are open before us. We will do everything in accordance with the constitution, the law, and the [signed] treaties,” he said.

In September 2011 crowds stormed and ransacked the Israeli embassy in Cairo, following the death of five Egyptian soldiers in a terrorist incident along the Israeli-Egyptian borer. The embassy has since never reopened.

Egypt was the first Arab country to sign peace accords with Israel in 1979.

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