Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Israel slowly becoming focus of protests


From YNet's print edit:

Yediot Ahronot, 31 January 2011, pp. 2-3

"Traitor, go to Israel"

Eldad Beck

The moment of truth of the Egyptian "rage revolution" is near. The winds blowing in Cairo's streets are getting ever more extreme and Israel, who was out of the picture until now, is slowly being inserted into the political storm that is shaking Egypt and the entire Middle East. To the dozens of hate graffiti against Mubarak and his family sprayed on the ruling party's burnt building in the heart of Cairo a new slogan was added: "This is the end of all the Jews". On one of Cairo's main bridges the following was written: "Mubarak, you traitor, go to Israel".

Also the multitude of protesters that continue to flock to Tahrir Square are arguing about Israel's involvement in the dramatic events. For many Israel is behind the gangs of looters that broke into shopping malls, stores, private homes and even the national museum, stealing everything they laid hands on and sowing destruction. Al-Jazeera [...] is trickling inciteful propaganda against the Zionist state. "Experts" such as former MK Azmi Bishara talk about the US "Zionist lobby"'s role in preserving Mubarak's regime. The opposition continues to argue vehemently that Mubarak and his new vice, Omar Soliman, are agents of Israel and the US, and on the front page of one of the opposition papers the headline reads: "International Zionism is behind the civil war in Egypt".

In the stormy Tahrir Square I sit next to Muhammad, a 37 year old doctor [...] who doesn't hide his support for the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). The more time goes by and the protests don't wane the more the MB show their presence. [...] Also the slogans at the demostrations are becoming more and more religious. [...] "We want a national rescue government which will draft a new constitution and the MB should be a part of it" [says Muhammad].

"Who says the MB should be in the government", she [Yasmin, a 29 year old] cries out. "There will be democratic elections and the people will decide who they want" [...].

"And how will this affect the relations with the US and the peace with Israel?" I ask. "The relations with America will be according to Egypt's interests", states Muhammad avoiding mentioning Israel. [...] "We don't know if Obama is with the people or with Mubarak", says Yasmin. "If other states will support the Egyptian people and help us build Egypt we'll welcome them". Yasmin doesn't blame Israel. "We're used to of saying that Israel is behind all our problems. But that's nonsense. We are responsible for what happens to us", she declares. "The Israelis are so succesful and what do we have? Nothing".
From the JPost:

The protests have lacked a clear leader to unite them and provide an alternative to Mubarak, and demonstrators are beginning to focus their wrath not just on Mubarak and the country’s widespread corruption, but also on the United States and, to a lesser extent, Israel. They blame Israel and the US for supporting a government because it is convenient for them, not because it is good for the Egyptian people.

“The USA does not support democracy; they’re supporting Israel, which is like their baby,” said Ahmed, a 26-year-old Cairo resident. “They think Egypt is functional because it’s in favor of their considerations.”

I don’t care if we have peace [with Israel] or not,” Ahmed continued, echoing the indifference of many demonstrators who don’t have a clear agenda for what they want a future Egypt to look like, as long as it does not include Mubarak. “But will Israel allow us to have a real president? For example, Turkey elected an Islamic government, but it was their choice. Will Israel give us the freedom to make the same choice?” he asked.