'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Friday, September 09, 2011

Egyptians Storm Israeli Embassy in Cairo (Part 1) 

UPDATE 4: As'ad Abukhalil:

I can't relay the excitement and jubilation that was expressed by Arabs from around the world on twitter and Facebook all day yesterday, regarding the storming of the Israeli occupation embassy in Cairo. I had told you that it will be a different Middle East. The sinister intelligence apparatus that was put in place by the Camp David regime crumbled. I will say more on this in my next post for Al-Akhbar English.

UPDATE 3: A more general Al Jazeera English report:

UPDATE 2: According to Al Jazeera English, the police have been involved in clashes with protesters, firing tear gas, with the Egyptian health ministry reporting 300 injuries. Here is an interview with one of the protesters:

No one should be surprised by this. Israel supported Mubarak unequivocally, despite his creation of a police state that oppressed millions of Egyptians. As noted by the protester interviewed in the video, the construction of a wall around the Israeli embassy in Cairo was a inflammatory provocation, the symbolic incorporation of Egypt within the occupied territories.

UPDATE 1: From the Guardian:

Egypt declared a state of alert early this morning after a group of 30 protesters broke into the Israeli embassy in Cairo last night and dumped hundreds of documents out of the windows.

The storming of the building came after a day of demonstrations outside where crowds swinging sledgehammers and using their bare hands tore apart the embassy's security wall. Hundreds of people converged on the embassy throughout the afternoon and into the night, tearing down large sections of the graffiti-covered security wall outside the 21-storey building. For hours, security forces made no attempt to intervene.

A security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because not authorised to speak to the media, said that one group of protesters reached a room on one of the embassy's floors at the top of the building just before midnight and began dumping Hebrew-language documents from the windows.

The prime minister, Essam Sharif, summoned a crisis cabinet meeting to discuss the situation. In Jerusalem, an Israeli official confirmed the embassy had been broken into, saying it appeared that the group reached a waiting room. In Cairo, officials at the capital's airport said the Israeli ambassador was there waiting for a military plane to evacuate him, and other Israelis were also waiting for the flight to take them back to Israel.

INITIAL POST: This is an important story, with marginal coverage in US and European media. Protests have been ongoing for several weeks now. The Egyptian military responded to the removal of the flag from the embassy by constructing a wall around it, but Egyptians in Cairo have damaged it today during renewed protests. The protests are apparently interwined within larger disputes between the governing military council and secular left groups within Egypt over the nature of political reform. From afar, it appears that the military council and the Muslim Brotherhood are trying to protect their privileged political status by permitting some confrontational protests against the Israelis, while preserving the relationship created by the Camp David accords. But what happens if the military is forced to choose between the preservation of its economic power, the profits that high ranking officers receive from industries controlled by the military, and the continuation of its pro-Israel policy? Is anti-Zionism the means by which the class struggle in Egypt will be intensified?

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