Egyptian Lawmaker Under Fire for Dinner With Israeli Ambassador
JNS.org – Egyptian Member of Parliament Tawfik Okasha is under fire from his fellow lawmakers over his decision to host Israeli Ambassador to Egypt Haim Koren at his house for dinner.
“It is an irrational attitude for Okasha to demean Egyptians who rejects normalization with Israel,” Egyptian MP Abdel Rehim Ali said, Al-Bawaba reported.
Other lawmakers called Okasha’s meeting “political prostitution” and said his actions were “unforgivable treason.”
Although Egypt and Israel have a peace treaty, Egyptian lawmakers have a policy of rejecting meetings with Israeli officials. More than 100 Egyptian lawmakers have called for an emergency session to discuss the meeting with Koren.
Yet Koren told Israel’s Army Radio that “we gladly welcome any meeting with Egyptian officials who want dialogue with us on issues of culture, communications, economics, society, and politics.”
Despite the outrage by some in Egypt’s parliament, Israeli-Egyptian relations have warmed in recent years under President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, with the two countries quietly cooperating on fighting both Islamic State-affiliated terrorism in the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group.
On Thursday in Jerusalem, Egypt’s new ambassador to Israel, Hazem Khairat, presented his diplomatic credential to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, officially becoming Egypt’s first ambassador to Israel since 2012.
“We must take responsibility for the benefit of those who live in this region, and to bring prosperity, justice, hope, and equality,” Khairat told Rivlin.