‘Israel must stop supporting Mubarak,’ protesters say

"People protesting feel let down by West in general, which has not spoken out harshly enough against oppression of regime."

Egyptian rioters with signs 311 (photo credit: MELANIE LIDMAN)
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.
“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.
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“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, Mounir said.
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 leader.
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.
“Of 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.”