This is most disquieting. As about a hundred people standing outside the Israeli Embassy in Cairo yesterday cheered a man as he climbed to the roof of the complex which houses the embassy, removed the Israeli flag and then replaced it with an Egyptian flag. He then proceeded to burn the Israeli flag. The Egyptian guards on duty made no attempt to stop him.
This was done ostensibly in reaction to the killing of five Egyptian police officers by Israeli forces who crossed into Egypt after Palestinian gunmen from Gaza launched attacks from the Sinai against Israeli civilians on a bus and other passing vehicles near Eilat killing eight. Israel apologized to Egypt for the loss of their security personnel but Egypt says the apology is insufficient and is withdrawing its Ambassador.
If anyone should be apologizing it is Egypt for allowing Hamas to use the Sinai as a base from which to launch attacks against Israeli civilians.
Yet I cannot say I am surprised by what happened at the Israeli Embassy. Back in April, there were large crowds in front of the Israeli embassy demanding that the Israeli flag be removed and the Egyptian ambassador be recalled after Israel retaliated against Hamas for massive rocket attacks into Israel including an attack on an Israeli schoolbus which claimed the life of an Israeli teenager.
Of course, since the protests began in Tahrir Square earlier this year, there has been a strong element of anti-Israeli sentiment expressed. Not that Mubarak prevented Egyptian state television from airing a 41-part mini-series on the Protocols of Elder Zion which aired not only Egypt but throughout the Arab world. Egyptians have never liked Israelis and I am sure Mubarak is among them. Yet he maintained the peace. Now that he is gone I doubt there is any other public figure in Egypt willing to do the same. Not with the Muslim Brotherhood calling the shots. Back in January, I agreed with The Jerusalem Post’s Caroline Glick when she made the case that once Mubarak fell that peace between Israel and Egypt was doomed and I am afraid she is absolutely right. I am equally afraid this will happen sooner rather than later.
At the moment, what I fear the most is that now that the Israeli flag has been taken down is what could happen to personnel inside the Israel embassy. At this point, does anyone think Egyptian security would prevent a mob from storming the embassy and taking its staff hostage as was done at the American embassy in Tehran?