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Parliament speaker warns against MP attendance to Israel’s national day celebrations
Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal
 

Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal warned members of Parliament against attending an event commemorating Israel’s national day in Cairo without his permission during a Tuesday morning parliamentary session.

On Tuesday evening, the Israeli Embassy in Cairo will celebrate 70 years since the declaration of the state of Israel at the luxury Nile Ritz Carlton hotel. The celebration will be the first time that this event has ever been held in Egypt. According to media reports, embassy officials have invited Cabinet and Parliament members, as well as business professionals, cultural figures and journalists to the event.

May 14, 2018 will mark the 70th anniversary of the declaration of the state of Israel.

MP Mostafa Bakry said that the Israeli embassy invited 100 members of the house to the event during the Tuesday morning parliamentary session. “MPs will not accept the invitations issued by the Israeli embassy,” Abdel Aal said in response.

“It is parliamentary policy that accepting invitations [from foreign embassies] and traveling [on official visits to foreign countries] requires prior approval,” continued Abdel Aal, who stated that he “would not hesitate to take measures” against violators of this policy. “Every MP will be held responsible for attending unapproved events and trips,” said Abdel Aal.

However, neither the speaker nor Parliament’s General Secretariat has received official correspondence from the Israeli Embassy in Cairo inviting MPs to the Tuesday evening event, a source from the General Secretariat told Mada Masr on condition of anonymity.

In order to formally invite parliamentarians to embassy events, foreign diplomats may address the Parliament speaker and request the attendance of certain MPs, or reach out to MPs directly, said the source. In either case, the speaker must approve MPs’ attendance to any foreign embassy event.

The case of former MP Tawfiq Okasha represents a previous occasion when Parliament took measures against violators of this policy, said the source.

Okasha’s parliamentary membership was terminated after two thirds of Egypt’s parliamentarians voted in favor of this decision on March 2, 2016. Okasha had hosted the Israeli ambassador to Egypt in his house without obtaining prior parliamentary approval.

Two prominent MPs told Mada Masr that they had not received invitations from the Israeli Embassy in Cairo.

Head of Parliament’s Energy and Environment Committee Talaat al-Suweidy said that he had not even heard of the event or of any invitations issued to fellow parliamentarians, while head of the Planning and Budget Committee Yasser Omar said that he would not have accepted an invitation from the Israeli embassy, had he had received one. Omar added that he had read about invitations being issued to MPs in the press, but he did not personally know any MPs who had been invited.  

However, Omar acknowledged the possibility that certain MPs may be “ashamed” to admit that they had received invitations to the event, but “fortunately, there is a mechanism in place to expose those who attend and to take disciplinary measures against them.”

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