Wednesday, November 4, 2015

For first time ever, Egypt votes for Israel membership in a UN committee-Middle East Monitor

11/1/15, "For the first time since 1948, Egypt votes for Israel at UN,"

"Egypt’s representative at United Nations voted on Friday in support of Israel’s bid for membership of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), Israeli media reported.

Since the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 and its acceptance to membership of the UN, Egypt had never voted in its favour at the UN before last Friday.

One hundred and seventeen countries voted in favour of Israel, 21 abstained, while only Namibia voted against the decision. Countries that abstained include: Qatar, Tunisia, Syria, Mauritania, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Kuwait, Iraq and Algeria.

Israeli sources said that they were accepted to this UN committee after "intensive diplomatic efforts" exerted at different levels.

Prior to the vote, spokesman for the Egyptian ministry of foreign affairs Ahmed Abu Zeid refused to comment on the matter. However, in the face of fierce domestic criticism, he said that voting for Israel was necessary in order to secure the membership of a number of Arab countries to the committee.

Egyptian politicians and activists widely rejected this move and severely criticised Egyptian Military President Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi.

In 1973, Egypt and Syria started a war against Israel that paved the way for peace talks between Egypt and Israel. It ended up with a peace treaty in 1979 that ended state of war between the two sides, reciprocal recognition and normalisation of ties."


11/2/15, "For the first time ever, Egypt votes for Israel at the UN,", Ari Soffer
"Egypt votes in favor of Jewish state's membership in United Nations space committee - triggering Arab anger."
"For the first time since Israel's establishment in 1948, Egypt has voted in the Jewish state's favor in the United Nations.
The vote came during elections for membership in the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) late last week.

The vote for Israel triggered angry criticism among Arab social media users, with some even creating a hashtag "Egypt votes for Israel" to criticize the vote.

In the face of the backlash Egyptian officials scrambled to clarify that they had only voted for Israel in order to enable the election of several Arab states as well.

"Egypt’s commitment to support the candidate of the Arab countries is the main motive behind the vote in favor of the resolution," Egyptian Foreign Ministetry Spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid told The Cairo Post Saturday.

According to The Post, Egypt and other Arab General Assembly members requested to vote for each of the six states on the list individually. That request was denied amid fierce opposition from the US delegation, and countries had to vote for the list in one go.

The list of new members - which was accepted with 117 votes for and only one (Namibia) against - also included El Salvador, Sri Lanka, the United Arab of Emirates, Oman and Qatar.

221 countries abstained from the vote, including 10 Arab countries openly hostile towards Israel: Qatar, Tunisia, Syria, Mauritania, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Kuwait, Iraq and Algeria.

Israel and Egypt signed a historic peace deal in 1979, but despite the official and high-level security and economic ties between Jerusalem and Cairo anti-Semitism and fierce anti-Israel sentiment is still widespread among the general public, where "normalization" with the Jewish state is still seen as taboo.  That taboo may be gradually breaking however, as a small but growing number of Egyptian figures call for an end to hostility, noting the two countries' common fight against Islamist terrorists in Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula."



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