EGYPT: THE DEMONSTRATORS, THE GOVERNMENT; DIFFERENT GOALS—FOR NOW

The demonstrators after Friday’s “prayers” (There may have been more police than demonstrators.)

CAIRO: Over a thousand protesters gathered in front of the Israeli embassy following Friday prayers in what was dubbed the “Friday of Expelling the Ambassador”, reiterating their demands to cut diplomatic ties with Israel, after the shooting of five Egyptian soldiers on the borders on Aug. 19.

“We don’t want a single Israeli on our land anymore,” Sa’deya Mohamed, 70, told Daily News Egypt.

And, “The people want the right of our martyrs in Sinai be regained,” protesters, holding the Egyptian flags, chanted outside the embassy amid tight security. Others shouted: “The people’s first demand is to have the ambassador evicted.”

One of the protesters shot in the air and managed to leave the scene before police could arrest him, according to witnesses.

A 23-year-old Egyptian, Ahmed Shahhat, climbed to the roof of the 13-story apartment building housing the embassy early Sunday morning and removed the Israeli flag from the roof, replacing it with an Egyptian flag he had carried with him.

Shahhat, who became an instant folk hero in Egypt, said his action had come in protest against the killing of the three Egyptian soldiers. A resident in the building opened his balcony door for Shahhat, who made the rest of the way down by elevator and was welcomed by thousands of protesters who have been demonstrating outside the building with calls to suspend the Israel-Egypt peace treaty.

The Government is on a different course, sending more troops into Sinai

Because, surprise, surprise, one immediate result of the “Arab Spring” is a brand new branches of al-Q’aida and other terrorist groups now operating in Egypt’s Sinai desert. One group is al-Qa’ida in the Sinai Peninsula. Another group calls itself al-Shabab al-Islam (Youth of Islam).

This, together with last week’s attack in which eight Israelis were killed by Palestinian militants who infiltrated the border, moved Israel to agree to significant additional Egyptian troop deployment. (Earlier this year, before the fall of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, Israel permitted Egypt to send thousands of extra soldiers to northern Sinai to combat Islamic gunmen operating there.)

What could go wrong with that? Expect the Egyptian government, after elections, to be far more in line with the demonstrators at the Israeli embassy than with Israel.

About Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson: a mature Christian who understands the sweep of history, the unique role of America and these times clearly and precisely.
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