In an unprecedented vote at the UN, Egypt votes to allow the Jewish State’s membership into the United Nations space committee, UNOOSA – triggering the anger of Arab states.
By Ari Soffer
For the first time since Israel’s establishment in 1948, Egypt has voted in the Jewish state’s favor in the United Nations.
The vote came during elections for membership in the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space Affair (UNOOSA) late last week.
The vote for Israel triggered angry criticism among Arab social media users, with some even creating a hashtag “Egypt votes for Israel” to criticize the vote.
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In the face of the backlash Egyptian officials scrambled to clarify that they had only voted for Israel in order to enable the election of several Arab states as well.
“Egypt’s commitment to support the candidate of the Arab countries is the main motive behind the vote in favor of the resolution,” Egyptian Foreign Ministetry Spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid told The Cairo Post Saturday.
According to The Post, Egypt and other Arab General Assembly members requested to vote for each of the six states on the list individually. That request was denied amid fierce opposition from the US delegation, and countries had to vote for the list in one go.
The list of new members – which was accepted with 117 votes for and only one (Namibia) against – also included El Salvador, Sri Lanka, the United Arab of Emirates, Oman and Qatar.
21 countries abstained from the vote, including 10 Arab countries openly hostile towards Israel: Qatar, Tunisia, Syria, Mauritania, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Kuwait, Iraq and Algeria.
Israel and Egypt signed a historic peace deal in 1979, but despite the official and high-level security and economic ties between Jerusalem and Cairo anti-Semitism and fierce anti-Israel sentiment is still widespread among the general public, where “normalization” with the Jewish state is still seen as taboo.
That taboo may be gradually breaking however, as a small but growing number of Egyptian figures call for an end to hostility, noting the two countries’ common fight against Islamist terrorists in Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula.
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