Egyptian parliamentarian under fire for meeting Israeli envoy

An Egyptian TV host and parliamentarian is coming under fire for meeting with the Israeli ambassador to Egypt, the Al-Ahram newspaper reported on Thursday.

According to the newspaper, the parliamentarian Tawfik Okasha had dinner on Wednesday with Israeli ambassador Haim Koren and the two talked politics.

Okasha reportedly discussed several local and regional issues with Koren, including the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the construction of the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, according to Al-Ahram, which quoted the Arabic-language Youm7 website.

The Youm7 website ran several photos of the gathering showing Okasha, Ambassador Koren, and another official chatting in a living room.

The dinner sparked outrage on social media by many users who criticized Okasha for “hypocrisy” since he has made his opposition to "an American-Zionist conspiracy to destabilize Egypt" a hallmark of his one-man television show, which airs on the local Faraeen TV channel.

Mostafa Bakry, an MP and TV presenter who also subscribes to the American-Zionist conspiracy theories, slammed Okasha's actions as "unforgivable treason" and a "shame", according to Al-Ahram.

Veteran radio host Hamdi El-Konayesi also blasted Okasha and said his behavior was “unacceptable”.

"I reject any kind of public normalization of relations with Israel, [a country] which does not respect the Camp David Treaty and currently practices the worst kind of occupation in Palestinian territories," El-Konayesi told Al-Ahram.

Responding to the report, Okasha said that he had informed the Egyptian authorities before his meeting with the Israeli ambassador.

The report comes hours after 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.

Despite the improvement of relations with Israel under President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, the 1979 peace treaty between the two countries continues to come under scrutiny in Egypt.

In fact, a recent poll found that Egyptians see Israel as the "most hostile" of their neighbors, despite the peace treaty.

In 2013, the movement that led the opposition to former Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi said it would target the peace treaty with Israel, by collecting signatures to a petition calling for its cancellation.

There have also been strange incidents where locals were arrested for sympathizing with Israel. In one incident, an Egyptian lawyer was accused of spying for Israel because he was surfing on Israeli websites in an Internet cafe.

In another case, Egyptian authorities arrested a 24-year-old resident for allegedly writing to Israeli nationals through Facebook and criticizing Egypt and Egyptians, as well as declaring his love for the Jewish state.

And, earlier this month, there was anger in Egypt after an Israeli book written by Army Radio's Arab affair analyst was allowed into an international book fair in Cairo.

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/208560

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