Egypt TV under fire over Israeli interview

2012-08-09 22:04
An Egyptian mourns outside the mosque at the funeral of 16 soldiers killed in an attack over the weekend by suspected militants in Sinai in Cairo, Egypt. (AP)

An Egyptian mourns outside the mosque at the funeral of 16 soldiers killed in an attack over the weekend by suspected militants in Sinai in Cairo, Egypt. (AP)

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Cairo - Egyptian state television has come under fire for a show in which an Israeli military analyst was interviewed, with some critics saying the newly appointed information minister should be sacked for the incident.

Eyal Alima, a correspondent for Israel Radio's Arabic service, was interviewed by phone, along with Egyptian and Palestinian analysts, on a Tuesday night programme to discuss an attack by gunmen who killed 16 Egyptian border soldiers two days earlier.

Minister for Information Salah Abdel-Maqsud quickly demanded an inquiry and issued instructions to the state broadcasting authority not to host any more Israelis, reported local media.

However, his action did not go far enough to please critics.

The liberal National Gathering for Change, a non-governmental group, has called for the Islamist information minister to be dismissed and stripped of his membership at the independent Press Syndicate.

Disciplinary penalties

The group accused state television of pursuing "media normalisation with the Zionist entity" - a term used in Egypt by those who reject the legitimacy of Israel.

The turn of events is potentially embarrassing for the Muslim Brotherhood, from which Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi hails.

Abdul-Maqsud's appointment last week as information minister, controlling state television and radio services, was the Brotherhood's biggest victory in a new cabinet that includes several ministers from the previous military-appointed government.

The Brotherhood has said that Israel's intelligence service Mossad might be behind the attack on the Egyptian soldiers, the deadliest in decades. Israel has vehemently denied the claim.

Egypt and Israel signed a peace treaty in 1979 that led to the Sinai peninsula being restored to Egyptian control.

However, Egypt's professional unions are opposed to normal ties with the Israelis. Violators risk disciplinary penalties from their unions.

Angry Egyptians attacked the Israeli embassy in September after a different deadly border incident, in the worst crisis in ties between the two countries since a popular revolt forced Hosny Mubarak out of power in 2011.

- SAPA

Read more on:    egypt  |  north africa  |  middle east peace
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