An Egyptian blogger, Maikel Nabil Sanad is in Israel & is being hosted by Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
‘There is a peace-seeking community in Egypt’ says Sanad
By Roi Kais
Egyptian blogger Maikel Nabil Sanad, 27, carried an unusual speech at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and was interrupted by pro-Palestinian activists who broke into the hall and shouted at him “Shame on you, this is Palestine.”
Sanad has been known to express views about Israel, which caused him to be heavily criticized in Egypt.
On the one hand, Sanad is a social activist, one of the leaders of the revolution that resulted in the ouster of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. On the other, he is known as the first person in Egypt who refused to enlist in the army citing pacifism.
He spent over 302 days in prison for criticizing the Egyptian Military after it took power.
Sanad visit at the Hebrew University was orchestrated by the UN Watch, a human rights organizations operating from Geneva.
In a press conference prior to his speech, Sanad, currently residing in Berlin, said: “I have been trying to visit Israel for over two years but was not allowed. When I applied for a visa, I was questioned whether I obtained a permit from Egyptian Intelligence, and when I said no I was denied.
“I was not permitted to visit the Israeli Embassy in Egypt or the Israeli Embassy in Berlin – where I study. When my friends and I wish to visit Israel, we must obtain a permit from the Egyptian dictatorship Israel recognizes. Israel regards Egyptians as a threat even in the cases they are peace activists.”
Sanad explained his visit had two objectives “First of all I came to say a peace- seeking community exists in Egypt, even if the media is trying to make it look like there isn’t. We oppose war and are pro-peace with all countries including Israel,
“The Egyptian dictatorship tries to hide us and pretend such people do not exist, but we are present in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Mauritania though the media does not report it.
“My second objective is to show how the situation in Egypt, Israel and Palestine is connected. My friends and I understand that we will not obtain peace without democracy, or have democracy without peace.”
Sanad added he wishes to encourage people like him to cross the border and effect change. He also commented on the Egyptian constitution, which was approved in a referendum on Sunday. “The Muslim Brotherhood is trying to establish a dictatorship in Egypt, and Morsi was not elected in a democratic way,
“It is a fascist regime causing fatalities amongst the civilians but I am optimistic and believe this is heading in a positive direction. The Muslim Brotherhood is becoming less popular and most people who voted for religious parties are realizing they made a mistake.”
Nevertheless, Sanad mentioned that though Israel supported Mubarak, he funded propaganda against Israel for years. “Students were taught Israel has no right to exist while the media aired anti-Israeli propaganda.
“Following the peace treaty with Israel, then-President Anwar Saadat held a referendum which was supported by the majority of the Egyptian people. This was not a treaty by Saadat and Beguin but a treaty between the Egyptian and Israeli people.
“I believe most Egyptians do not wish to fight Israel or destroy it but they do have a moral obligation to the Palestinians and their non-violent struggle. The fact people support a Palestinian state and oppose the Israeli occupation doesn’t mean they oppose Israel’s existence.”
As for Israel’s attitude towards the Arab Spring, the Egyptian blogger said that Israel was perceived as a supporter of Mubarak. “If the Israeli government took a different approach to the revolution it could have been a great accomplishment for the Middle East, but Israel chose to support the dictators, attempted to keep them in power.”
View original Ynet publication at: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4323523,00.html