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February 08, 2003

Invitation to Sharon draws angry reaction in pro-Palestinian Egypt

Perhaps the U.S. ought send more money to help out Egypt. Between a government that approves of the TV show Protocols of Zion and the many pro-Palestinians within the country, I am beginning to believe we may well have a questionable friend in Egypt.
CAIRO (AFP) — President Hosni Mubarak's invitation to Israel's newly reelected Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has drawn angry reactions in Egypt, where the Israeli leader is commonly referred to as a “butcher” of the Palestinians.
Egyptian officials have been at pains to explain that Mubarak's initiative was taken in the interest of the Palestinians, pointing out that even President Yasser Arafat had offered, but in vain, to meet with the hard-line prime minister.

But vitriolic media comments revealed widespread hostility to the invitation that Mubarak said Monday aimed at reviving peace talks frozen since 2000.

“No, Mister President, don't shake hands with him, don't put your hand in the blood-stained hand of this assassin,” wrote the editor-in-chief of the pro-government Al Osboue Weekly, Mustapha Bakri.

“He's a terrorist, a vampire, and not a statesman or an ordinary man with whom it is possible to talk about peace,” added Bakri in an editorial titled “Before the butcher stains our soil” published next to a photomontage picturing Sharon's heads on a cobra snake body.

He expressed worries that the invitation would reward Sharon's tough repression of the Palestinian uprising, and that it would “break his isolation and open for him the road to other Arab capitals.”

“Wouldn't this overture towards Sharon prove to the Zionist society that force, violence and intransigence are the only ways to goad the Arabs into accepting Israel's policy of fait accompli?,” he asked.

A meeting with Mubarak would be Sharon's first with an Arab leader since he took office nearly two years ago. [more]