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Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak refusal's to visit Israel is a "slap in the face," charged a group of opposition and coalition MKs, who urged the prime minister to cancel his trip Thursday to Egypt.
Eight Knesset Members, all from the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, signed a letter written by former committee chairman MK Yuval Steinitz (Likud), asking Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to cancel his trip. Five of the eight signatures, including MK Yitzhak Aharonovitch (Israel Beiteinu), MK Shlomo Benizri (Shas) and Kadima MKs Otniel Schneller, Shlomo Breznitz and Amira Dotan, are coalition members.
"It is an intolerable situation that in the past 25 years, since Mubarak came to power, he has refused to visit Israel," said Steinitz. "There is clear code of conduct for neighboring states, and Mubarak is not following it. There is a clear lack of respect to Israel." Mubarak visited Israel once, for three hours in 1995, for the funeral of assassinated prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.
"The refusal of an official visit has ramifications for the whole Middle East. What Mubarak does affects other Arab states and the way in which they are willing to conduct talks with Israel," said Steinitz.
The MK noted that intelligence reports had shown a steady increase in smuggling along the border between Egyptian and Gaza, with many intelligence officials finding fault with the Egyptian's efforts to stymie the smuggling.