Egypt parliament expels MP Okasha after Israel meeting

Politician and talk show host Tawfik Okasha expelled by majority vote after meeting Israeli ambassador.

Tawfiq Okasha
Israel's ambassador Haim Koren said Okasha initiated the meeting [File:AP]

Egyptian politician and talk show host Tawfik Okasha has been expelled from parliament after meeting Israel’s ambassador to the country.

A majority of members of parliament voted to expel the TV personality on Wednesday just days after receiving Haim Koren for dinner at his home.

The move is the latest in an escalating row over the meeting, with one politician hurling a shoe at Okasha during an earlier meeting of parliament.

The meeting between the two men reportedly involved discussion about Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Koren said the meeting was Okasha’s idea.

A former member of Hosni Mubarak’s National Democratic Party, Okasha gained infamy after the uprising that brought the former president down for his vocal support for Egypt’s military rulers.

Despite frequently accusing his opponents of collusion with Israel, Okasha has applauded the Israeli army’s operations in Gaza and has called on its Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to attack Iran.

1979 peace deal

Although Egypt’s military enjoys close relations with Israel, many Egyptians continue to harbour ill feeling towards the state.

The two countries have fought several wars but a peace treaty signed in 1979 has since thawed relations.

Both states are involved in enforcing a blockade on the Gaza Strip, which is ruled by Hamas.

The Palestinian armed movement is proscribed as a “terrorist” group by Israel and looked upon with suspicion by Egypt for its ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been the subject of a crackdown by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s government.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies