Egyptians strike in front of Israeli Embassy, demand severed ties with Israel
Around 1000 Egyptians protested in front of the Israeli Embassy in Cairo on Friday amid heavy military presence, demanding the severing of all diplomatic and economic ties with Israel.
The protest was prompted by the recent Israel attacks on Gaza. Israeli forces have been attacking the strip since Thursday causing a total of 17 casualties and tens of injuries in retaliation to a missile attack on an Israeli school bus, which was launched from a Hamas-controlled territory the same day causing two injuries.
Protesters demanded the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador in Egypt and yelled “bring down the flag, we don’t want it,” referring to the Israeli flag on top of the embassy’s building. They also called on the Egyptian Government to stop exporting gas to Israel and to open the Rafah border crossing for Palestinians.
Protesters also called for refugees’ right of return. Official UN records say there are 4.7 million Palestinian refugees around the world. Egypt hosts an estimated 50,000 of them.
“We will stay here as long as it takes for our demands to be met, and then we can concentrate on our domestic demands again,” said one protester as an open strike in front of Israeli Embassy was announced.
A high-ranking military officer tried to address the protesters but they yelled, “get down” and told him that their demands are not negotiable. The officer assured them that he agrees with all demands and that he will deliver them to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.
Protesters burnt Israeli flags as passers by showed their support by honking their car horns. People came out in nearby balconies holding the Palestinian flag.
Protesters gave out flyers calling for a “Third Palestinian Intifada” that aims at returning Palestinian refugees on the coming 15 May, which will be the day of the 63rd anniversary of the 1948 Arab defeat before Israel. The flyer read that refugees are planned to be taken in buses from 30 different points along the Palestinian borders with Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. Protests are scheduled on 13 May ahead of the move.
The "Third Palestinian Intifada" was first called for on Facebook. After getting some 330,000 followers, the page was shut down by the Facebook administration on 29 March as Israel reportedly appealed to the social networking site CEO Mark Zuckerberg, claiming that the page calls for the murder of Jews and the destruction of the state of Israel.