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Egypt: The European Union Should Stop Lying
By Khaled Abu Toameh
Originally Published by the Gatestone Institute.
Egyptians from across the political spectrum have expressed outrage over the European Parliament’s December 18 resolution calling for restrictive measures against Egypt for its “human rights violations.”
The Egyptians said that the European Parliament’s “politicized” resolution is a blatant intervention in Egypt’s internal affairs and serves the interests of Muslim terrorists presently opposing the government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
The resolution adopted by the European Parliament “deplores, once again and in the strongest possible terms, the continued and intensifying crackdown on fundamental rights and, among others, the persecution of human rights defenders, lawyers and civil society in Egypt.”
According to many Egyptians, the resolution contains countless fallacies and serves as a propaganda platform for the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood organization. The Egyptians are particularly enraged because the European resolution came at a time when Egypt is continuing its fight against the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist terror groups.
Earlier this month, Egypt’s military killed 15 Islamist terrorists in Sinai. The army said that since July 22, it has eliminated 77 terrorists as part of Egypt’s efforts to combat terrorism at all of the country’s strategic borders.
Egyptian Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal said the European Parliament’s resolution was “unacceptable, unbalanced and inappropriate.”
Accusing the European Parliament of double standards, Aal called on the Europeans to “not install themselves as guardians over Egypt and to stop politicizing human rights issues.”
Aal and other Egyptian officials pointed out that the European Parliament did not take into consideration Egypt’s efforts to combat Islamist terrorism and maintain security and stability.
The head of Egypt’s Senate, Abdel Wahab Abdel Razeq, rejected the allegations made by the European Parliament and said that the charges contradicted the truth about human rights in Egypt. Abdel Razeq accused the European Parliament of exploiting the human rights issue as a pretext to interfere in the internal affairs of Egypt. The anti-Egypt resolution was based on “evil sources working against Egypt,” he added, an apparent reference to the Muslim Brotherhood and other jihadist groups.
The General Federation of Egyptian Trade Unions, which represents 25 million workers, said that the resolution ignores Egypt’s “pivotal role in pursuing the war on — and eliminating — terrorism and terrorists.”
“European Parliament did not address Egyptian state’s efforts to maintain security and stability and combat terrorism,” the Federation noted.
Egypt’s Coordination of Youth for Parties and Politicians announced in a statement that it rejects all the fallacies contained in the European Parliament’s resolution, asking:
“Why does the European Parliament give itself the right to evaluate others? The resolution, aiming to put pressure on Egypt, is in itself opportunism and a clear violation of human rights.”
Senate member Tayseer Matar, said that the resolution “serves the goals of terrorist organizations and is not in line with the existing partnership between Egypt and the European Union countries.”
Nashat al-Dihi, a member of Egypt’s Supreme Council For Media Regulation, denounced the resolution as worthless. “We will not accept private lessons from anyone,” he said, “and the members of the European Parliament should follow the human rights situation in their own countries first.”
Egyptian political analyst Dr. Abdel Azim Ramadan, writing in Egypt’s Al-Gomhuria newspaper, said that the European resolution “came as a duplicate of other statements by foreign organizations hostile to Egypt and adopts the viewpoint of the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood organization and its supporters.”
Ramadan said that the European Parliament’s endorsement of the anti-Egypt resolution indicates the presence and remarkable activity of the Muslim Brotherhood lobby inside European Union bodies, including the European Parliament.
Explaining widespread Egyptian anger and condemnation of the resolution, Ramadan pointed out that it came in the aftermath of great efforts that Egypt has made since 2014 to protect Europeans, especially in the field of curbing illegal immigration to European countries and combating terrorism:
“Egypt cooperated strongly with the Europeans and the United Nations on the issue of refugees, who posed a serious social and economic challenge to European countries… This is an astonishing, ridiculous and blatant interference in the internal affairs of Egypt. The response to the European Parliament must be decisive and strong.”
Ahmed Diab, a prominent Egyptian media personality, responded to the European Parliament resolution by saying: “We do not allow anyone to interfere in the internal affairs of Egypt.”
Diab accused the Europeans of turning a blind eye to human rights violations in Turkey and said that the Qatari Al-Jazeera channel celebrated the resolution. “All the enemies of the Egyptian state were happy with this unacceptable resolution,” he said.
Several Egyptians, meanwhile, took to social media to express their anger and disgust over the European resolution. A hashtag trending on Twitter under the title “European Union Stop Lying” condemns the “hypocrisy” of the Europeans in dealing with Egypt and human rights issues.
“The European Parliament is a group of mercenary personalities politicized against Egypt,” commented Ehab al-Jammal, an Egyptian social media user.
Addressing the European Union, Asma Hassan, another Egyptian social media user, wrote on Twitter: “Egypt is not Syria; Egypt is not Yemen; Egypt is not Iraq. Egypt is a great country and you will never beat us. Long live Egypt.”
Clearly, the Egyptians feel betrayed by the European Union, whose representatives choose to ignore the threat that the Muslim Brotherhood poses to Egypt’s security and stability. Egyptians fear that the jihadi terrorists will interpret the European Parliament’s resolution as a green light to continue their terror campaign to overthrow the Sisi government and bring the Muslim Brotherhood back to power. What is certain, meanwhile, is that the resolution is being celebrated by Egypt’s enemies — not a good sign for the future of the war on terrorism.
Khaled Abu Toameh, an award-winning journalist based in Jerusalem, is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at Gatestone Institute.