03/15/2012, 00.00
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Egypt's parliament describes Israel as the country's "first enemy"

Lawmakers vote symbolic resolution calling for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador and the cancellation of the peace treaty with Israel. The call is a response to Israeli raids in Gaza. Sources tell AsiaNews that such moves exemplify the conceited populism of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists.

Cairo (AsiaNews) - Egypt's extremist-dominated parliament adopted a motion that describes Israel as Egypt's 'first enemy'. In it, lawmakers also demand the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador in Cairo and a halt to gas exports to the Jewish state at favourable prices.

The text was prepared by the Arab Affairs Committee of Egypt's People's Assembly (lower house) and is largely symbolic. Only the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) can make such decisions, and has already ruled it out. Until presidential elections are held, the SCAF remains in charge of policy-making.

The motion follows Israeli strikes in Gaza since 9 March that left 25 people dead. For Egyptian MPs, such actions are a gross violation of human rights.

Despite its lack of legal import, the motion exemplifies what a source, speaking to AsiaNews, calls the "conceited rhetoric" of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists.

Emboldened by their electoral victory, both groups are trying to spread their ideology after 40 years of repression under Egypt's military regime.

According to the text approved on Monday, "Egypt will never be the friend, partner or ally of the Zionist entity which we consider as the first enemy of Egypt and the Arab nation".

"Muslim extremists are populists," the sources said. "All they want is to remain popular among voters, especially at a time of economic crisis. They blame Israel for all of the country's ills."

Since January, political instability, government spending restraints to keep the national debt under control and attacks against gas pipelines in the Sinai have caused energy shortages in the country.

Several cities have been without supplies, forcing people to line up to buy a gasoline by single cans or the few cooking gas canisters left. Police have been deployed at distributors to prevent disorders.

The Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists blame the situation on economic agreements with Israel. At present, Egypt sells gas and gasoline to the Jewish state at 80 per cent less than market prices.

For experts, Muslim extremists could undermine Egypt's move towards democracy.

The military continue to follow Mubarak's foreign policy and obtain billions of dollars from Israel's main ally, the United States.

Should the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists also win the presidential election, SCAF might cancel the vote and install their own man. (S.C.)


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See also
Salafists to support new constitution spare the country "more anarchy"
Curfew in Delga, a Islamist-held town where Christians cannot live
Real Arab Spring retakes Egypt, says Democratic activist
Egypt's rural areas turn against Mohamed Morsi, a president on "another planet"
Islamist judges and blasphemy charges, new weapons against Christians and secularists


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