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Egyptian Protesters Demand Expulsion of Israeli Ambassador, No Gas Exports, End to Camp David Treaty

Thousands Protest In Front Of Israeli Embassy In Cairo

Saturday August 27, 2011 04:00 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies

More Egyptian protesters continue to gather in front of the Israeli embassy in Cairo. Power blackout was also reported in the area, while ambulances arrived at the scene as a precaution due to fears of possible clashes between the protesters and the Egyptian Military Police.

Thousands of Egyptians continued their protest in front of the Israeli embassy in Cairo, demanding the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador from Cairo, to stop gas exports to Tel Aviv and to void the Camp David peace deal between Egypt and Israel.

The protest started on Friday morning while thousands continue to express their rejection to normalization between Israel and Egypt.

The protesters carried Egyptian and Palestinian flags, and held Friday prayers at the Nahda Square, in front of the Israeli embassy, and on the University Bridge.

They stated that the Israeli ambassador, Yitzhak Levanon, “must be thrown out of Egypt”, and that Egypt’s ambassador in Tel Aviv must be recalled, in protest to the death of Egyptian soldiers killed a week ago by Israeli fire in across the border following the Eilat shooting that led to the death of eight Israelis.

Following the Eilat shooting, Israeli soldiers opened fire at Egyptian border policemen, stationed on the Egyptian side, while military helicopters also violated Egyptian airspace; despite the fact the Egyptian officers were not involved, in any way, in the attack. Three Egyptian border policemen were killed in Israeli attack.

In Cairo, observers stated that all Egyptians are united in their demand to expel the Israeli ambassador and in recalling the Egyptian ambassador from Tel Aviv.

The Egyptian police deployed six armored vehicles in front of the embassy, and three more vehicles near the Saudi embassy in the area, while dozens of soldiers were deployed around the buildings.

Ambassador: Israeli-Egyptian relations still tense

Published Wednesday 24/08/2011 (updated) 26/08/2011 12:34

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) --

Yasser Othman, the Egyptian ambassador to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, said Wednesday that there is still tension in Egyptian-Israeli relations after the killing of five Egyptian soldiers last week.

“We want a clear, strong apology and a pledge to not to repeat such acts in the future,” he said.

It was not enough that Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and President Shimon Peres expressed regret for the incident, Egypt's cabinet said.

The Eilat attacks had nothing to do with Egypt, Othman said, and investigations are ongoing on both sides.

Egypt had "forbidden" Israel from launching a large-scale operation in the Gaza Strip, he added.

“The Egyptian side has felt after the Eilat operation that Israel intends to [get] revenge,” so Egypt has sent a strong message to Israel saying it won’t allow an operation to take place.

Israel did not launch a large-scale operation because they fear the Egyptian people’s reaction, Othman added.

His remarks echoed reports in the Israeli media that Egyptian officials had conveyed messages to Israel that a large-scale military operation could lead Cairo to the point of suspending relations.

In talks held this week between a senior Egyptian official and a very high-placed official in Jerusalem, the latter told him: “We stopped the escalation in Gaza because of you,” according to the report in Maariv.

This was preceded by talks held between Defense Minister Ehud Barak with Gen. Hussein Tantawi and intelligence chief Murad Muwafi, who conveyed messages in a similar vein, the report said.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian-brokered halt to recent violence appeared to be holding despite sporadic rocket fire from Gaza and an airstrike that killed a member of Islamic Jihad's military wing late Tuesday.

The truce was announced Sunday evening following four days of violence sparked by a series of shooting ambushes near Eilat in southern Israel on Thursday in which eight Israelis died.

Israel launched a series of airstrikes in the aftermath of Thursday's attack, killing 15 Palestinians and injuring more than 50. Among those killed was Popular Resistance Committees chief Kamal Al-Nayrab.

Also Wednesday, Israel's army chief Benny Gantz ordered increased measures along the border with Egypt due to intelligence about new attacks being planned, according to a report in Israel's Haaretz newspaper. Armed groups are planning attacks similar to the ones last Thursday, the report said.

The new defensive measures include putting in place additional means of electronic and visual intelligence gathering as well bolstering navy capabilities in the south, according to the report.

Egyptians protest at Israeli embassy in Cairo

Fri Aug 26, 2011, 5:28pm GMT

By Marwa Awad

CAIRO (Reuters) -

Hundreds of Egyptians protested in front of the Israeli embassy in Cairo on Friday and demanded the expulsion of the country's ambassador as public anger grows against the Jewish state's killing of five Egyptian border guards.

The Egyptian border guards were killed in crossfire on August 18 when Israeli forces clashed with Palestinian militants who had crossed Egypt's Sinai border and killed eight Israelis.

The deaths of the border guards, which Egypt blamed on Israel, have sparked the deepest crisis in relations between the two countries since the February overthrow of Hosni Mubarak.

Braving the scorching heat during the fasting month of Ramadan, Egyptians across the political spectrum gathered at the Israeli embassy for the sixth day, waving the Egyptian and Palestinian flags and chanting slogans against Israel.

"The people demand the expulsion of the ambassador" and "the people demand the rights of the martyrs", they chanted.

Dubbed the "Friday of expelling the ambassador", the protest in the Giza district in Cairo is expected to swell in numbers after sunset when Egyptians break their Ramadan fast.

"The demands are clear: expelling the Israeli ambassador, recalling Egypt's from Israel and amending the military section of the 1979 peace treaty to allow Egypt's army more control of Sinai," activist Musaab Shahrour told Reuters.

Both countries have tried to diffuse diplomatic tension. Israeli security advisor Yaakov Amidror said on Thursday a joint investigation would take place between the two armies.

There has been increasing demand for Egypt's interim military rulers to take decisive action in amending the security terms of the peace treaty which have demilitarised the Sinai Peninsula and led to a security vacuum in the area.

The Economist on Friday quoted Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak as saying Israel would agree to an increase in Egyptian troops in the Sinai to tighten security.

An Egyptian intelligence official told Reuters that Israel had become more responsive to Egypt's demands for deploying more troops and weapons there but could not confirm the report.

"Sinai is Egyptian land and yet our army has no control over it because of a decades-old peace treaty that limits Egyptian troops. Israel has no right to wag its finger at Egypt for security problems at the border unless it is willing to keep an open mind and negotiate amendments with Egypt," said Ali Abdullah, 31.

Israel approves Egypt troop influx in Sinai

Published yesterday (updated) 27/08/2011 02:47

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) --

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has approved the deployment of thousands of extra Egyptian troops in the Sinai region, British weekly The Economist reported Friday.

The number of soldiers in the peninsula region bordering Israel is limited by the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.

The report said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved the move, intended to prevent attacks from the territory on Israel and its interests.

Egypt is permitted to move helicopters and armored vehicles into the Sinai, but tanks remain restricted to the lone battalion already stationed there under the terms of the peace accord.

On August 18, unknown fighters launched a series of attacks on vehicles in southern Israel, killing eight Israelis. Israeli forces pursued the attackers over the border into Egypt, killing five Egyptian soldiers and sparking a diplomatic crisis.

Israeli officials pinned the attacks on Gaza fighters using the Sinai as passage, and launched air strikes that killed 19 Palestinians.

In the weeks prior to the attacks, Egyptian forces had launched a large-scale operation dubbed "Operation Eagle" to track down those blamed for a series of attacks on gas pipelines delivering to Israel. That operation also received approval for extra troop deployment from Israel.

On Wednesday, Israel's army chief Benny Gantz ordered increased measures along the border with Egypt due to intelligence about new attacks being planned, according to a report in Israel's Haaretz newspaper.

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