Egypt’s parliament voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to revoke the membership of MP Tawfik Okasha for hosting the Israeli ambassador, Haim Koren for dinner at his home last week.
The parliament’s official website said 465 deputies voted on Wednesday to deprive Tawfiq of his seat.
Egypt in 1979 was the first Arab country and one of only two to date with Jordan to have signed a peace agreement with Israel.
Relations between the two countries, however, remain a sensitive topic in the media and public opinion.
The penalty is not over his meeting with the ambassador of a foreign country, but because of the issues discussed during this meeting, in relation to Egypt’s national security
صورة من لقاء السفير حاييم مع عضو البرلمان توفيق عكاشة pic.twitter.com/5NzzZOnryg— السفارة الاسرائيلية (@IsraelinEgypt) February 25, 2016
The Israeli Embassy in Cairo had felt initially that the meeting had been “very successful”, saying that “the two sides agreed to stay in touch and continue cooperation.”
“We have to accept differing opinions, to consolidate ties between the two peoples, economic, cultural and social,” said earlier Wednesday the Israeli ambassador, in a video posted on the Facebook page of the embassy.
The meeting between the two reportedly involved discussion about Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
“The penalty is not over his meeting with the ambassador of a foreign country, but because of the issues discussed during this meeting, in relation to Egypt’s national security,” it said.
Ethiopia will inaugurate the dam in 2017 billed as the largest in Africa. But Egypt has long opposed the plan, fearing that it decreases their own water supplies.
The question of this highly strategic dam, is often seen in Cairo how a national security matter.