CAIRO: Moustafa El-Fiqi, chairman of the People’s Assembly’s foreign relations committee withdrew from the opening session of the Arab Interim Parliament, in protest at other members’ attacks on Egypt and its stance on the assaults on Gaza.
El-Fiqi was representing Egypt at the session that was held in Cairo on Sunday to discuss the Israeli assaults on Gaza.
Several members questioned Egypt’s stance on the crisis, calling for the opening of the Rafah border. This prompted El-Fiqi to storm out, followed by Jassem Al-Saqer, president of the parliament. Shortly after, Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa intervened in an attempt to resolve the matter.
El-Fiqi later stepped back in the hall and gave a speech in which he objected to some of the attendees’ suggestions that the attacks on Gaza were blessed by some Arab regimes.
“I resent [those accusations]; Israel can never be an ally to any Muslim or Arab state, he said.
El-Fiqi explained that Egypt has always warned against a Palestinian division and is always in contact with Hamas, adding that it also criticizes it. “Egypt does not differentiate between the movements Fatah or Hamas, he said, explaining, however, that it is leaning more towards Fatah’s ideology.
“Insisting on making Egypt a traitor and condemning it will only get it out of the Arab equation, he said.
The incident did not come as a surprise to some political analysts, who view such clashes as an echo of the disputes between Arab states in general.
Diaa Rashwan, political analyst at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, called it “a usual thing.
“No one was expecting anything from this session anyway; it was only held to give moral support to the Palestinians and nothing else, he added.
“The Arab governments weren’t able to make any decisions or take any action, do you expect the MPs to? Rashwan said, referring to last week’s meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo.
During the session, Al-Saqer called for the formation of an Arab committee for the reconstruction of Gaza, and an Arab parliamentary committee to follow-up on developments, in the hopes that the Palestinian cause would unify the Arab stand.
He also said that Arab governments should comply with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency’s calls “immediately, by giving $35 million in aid for Palestinian refugees, and implement international resolutions concerning the Palestinian cause.
Early last month, El-Fiqi lashed out at Hamas, saying the Palestinian group won’t be allowed to set up an “Islamic emirate in the Gaza Strip which it controls.
El-Fiqi said Egypt wouldn’t tolerate an Islamic state on its eastern border.