Egypt’s Islamist-dominated parliament unanimously voted on Monday in support of expelling Israel’s ambassador in Cairo and halting gas exports to the Jewish state.The motion is largely symbolic, because only the ruling military council can make such decisions, and it is not likely to impact Egypt’s relations with Israel. But it signals the seismic change in Egypt after the ouster of longtime leader and Israel ally Hosni Mubarak a year ago in a popular uprising that ended his 29 years in power.
The White House announced plans on Monday to help “Arab Spring” countries swept by revolutions with more than $800 million in economic aid, while maintaining U.S. military aid to Egypt.
In his annual budget message to Congress, President Barack Obama asked that military aid to Egypt be kept at the level of recent years — $1.3 billion — despite a crisis triggered by an Egyptian probe targeting American democracy activists.
The proposals are part of Obama’s budget request for fiscal year 2013, which begins October 1. His requests need the approval of Congress, where some lawmakers want to cut overseas spending to address U.S. budget shortfalls and are particularly angry at Egypt.
Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood will not recognize Israel “under any circumstance,” the party’s deputy leader Dr Rashad Bayoumi told Arabic daily al-Hayat in an interview publish Sunday.
In recent Egyptian elections the party list led by the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) won 36.3 percent of the list vote, while the ultra-conservative Salafi al-Nour Party took 28.8%.
When asked whether it is a requirement for the government in Egypt to recognize Israel, Bayoumi responded by saying: “This is not an option, whatever the circumstances, we do not recognize Israel at all. Its [Israel] an occupying criminal enemy.”
The deputy leader stressed during the interview that no Muslim Brotherhood members would ever meet with Israelis for negotiations. “I will not allow myself to sit down with criminals.”
Bayoumi went on to say that The Muslim Brotherhood would take legal procedures towards cancelling the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel that was signed in 1979. “The Brotherhood respects international conventions, but we will take legal action against the peace treaty with the Zionist entity,” he told the paper.
The press freedom organization Reporters Without Borders on Friday cautioned news outlets on sending female reporters to Cairo’s Tahrir Square, citing three incidents in which reporters have been assaulted.
“It is more dangerous for a woman than a man to cover the demonstrations in Tahrir Square. That is the reality and the media must face it. It is the first time that there have been repeated sexual assaults against women reporters in the same place. The media must keep this in mind when sending staff there and must take special safety measures,” Reporters Without Borders said in a statement.
“We are not saying the international media should pull out and stop covering events in Egypt. But they need to adapt to the threats that currently exist. And women journalists going to Tahrir Square should be aware of this situation,” the organization added.
The press freedom group put out the statement after Caroline Sinz, a French reporter, said she was sexually assaulted while covering the street protests in Egypt’s capital.
Sinz’s incident happened just hours after Egyptian-American journalist Mona Al-Tahtawy reported on Twitter that she had been assaulted by security forces.
American reporter Lara Logan also reported that she was the victim of sexual assault by a crowd near Tahrir Square in February, on the day Egyptian Hosni Mubarak was pushed from power.