Egyptian rioters with signs 311.
(photo credit: MELANIE LIDMAN)
As the government continues to closely monitor events in Egypt, protesters there
have expressed anger with the Jewish state and its US ally for continuing to
support the president they seek to dispossess, Cairo-based journalist Tarek
Mounir told The Jerusalem Post by telephone on Sunday.
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“I’ll be honest
with you, protesters are angry that Israel and the US have continued to support
[President Hosni] Mubarak for 30 years and that he is seen [by these countries]
as the only solution to containing Islamist extremists in this region,” said
Mounir, who has been working as a “fixer” using his local experience and
contacts to smooth the way for international news agencies since the protests
kicked off last Tuesday.
“I’ve been shot at twice, and yesterday came
very close to meeting my maker,” he said, adding that throughout the past five
days dodging bullets at protests in the Egyptian capital he has seen many
banners claiming that if it was not “for Israel and America then Mubarak would
not have survived so long.”
Mounir said that the people protesting felt
let down by the West in general, which has not spoken out harshly enough against
the oppression of the regime and has failed to show solidarity with the Egyptian
people over the past few days of demonstrations.
He said the situation
had been harsh in recent days, with the Mubarak regime blocking the Internet,
shutting off mobile phones, attacking protesters and, on Friday night, failing
to prevent thousands of criminals from escaping from jails. These criminals were
responsible for violence and looting in some neighborhoods over the weekend,
Asked whether a change of regime would benefit or damage
relations with Israel, the former hotel employee from Sinai told the Post that
former IAEA head “Mohamed ElBaradei might not be the best solution but at the
moment he is the only solution.”
Mounir said ElBaradei has “not said
anything discouraging about Israel since he left his post at the UN” in November
2009 and he did not believe that a nonreligious, liberal democracy in Egypt
would strain relations between the two countries.
On Sunday night,
Elbaradei spoke to protesters in the capital’s main Tahrir Square, and the
Muslim Brotherhood called on him to take over as interim opposition
In Jerusalem on Sunday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told
the cabinet that efforts at the moment were “designed to continue and maintain
stability and security in our region.
“I remind you that the peace
between Israel and Egypt has endured for over three decades and our goal is to
ensure that these relations continue,” the prime minister said.
course, at this time, we must show maximum responsibility, restraint and
sagacity and, to this end, I have instructed my fellow ministers to refrain from
commenting on this issue. Naturally, we are also holding consultations in the
appropriate government forums.”