The House of Representatives decided Sunday to ban MP Tawfik Okasha from attending 10 parliamentary sessions in a measure penalising the controversial MP and owner of TV channel Al-Faraeen.
The punishment comes following an internal decision by a committee tasked to investigate Okasha on charges of “disrespecting” the parliament. Earlier in February, Okasha criticised Parliament Speaker Abdul Aal, resulting in his expulsion from the session.
This penalty comes after Okasha received Israeli Ambassador to Egypt Haim Koren at his house in Daqahleya to discuss pressing issues with him, including the Renaissance Dam crisis with Ethiopia, according to Okasha.
Amid public controversy and outrage from the parliament regarding this practice of “normalisation” with Israel, commonly rejected by the Egyptian people, despite ongoing diplomatic ties between the two countries, Okasha was assaulted Sunday inside the parliament by renowned leftist MP Kamal Ahmed.
Koren claimed to have arranged a second meeting with Okasha, following a previous meeting that caused outrage among Egyptian politicians due to an attempt at normalisation.
“I called Okasha after he was assaulted with a shoe inside the Egyptian House of Representatives; we agreed to meet again in my house located in the Maadi suburbs,” Koren said in a telephone interview broadcasted on the tenth Israeli channel.
Koren said the assault on Okasha was part of backlash from their first meeting but it will not hinder him from meeting with the MP a second time. Okasha confirmed during the call that he is keen on normalisation with Israeli, according to Koren.
“Being hit with a shoe is considered to be incredibly humiliating in Arab culture,” Koren claimed that Okasha told him.
Okasha was reportedly assaulted in a Parliamentary session held Sunday, when MP Ahmed Kamal hit him with his shoes and as a result both of them were ejected from the Parliamentary hall.
This isn’t the first time Okasha has been expelled during a parliamentary session; he was forced to leave a previous session following a scuffle with Parliamentary speaker Ali Abdul Aal, was and later summoned to an investigation by the Parliament.
Okasha’s invitation to host Koren caused huge outrage among the political streams and parties in Egypt. Despite this hostile response Okasha did not take a step back, even going as far to claim that he is ready to go to the Israeli Knesset, on his show.
Ever since his show first aired on Al-Faraeen channel, Okasha has made several controversial statements against Hamas in favour of Israel. On his TV show in the summer of 2014, during which time a bloody conflict broke out between Israel and Palestine killing hundreds of Palestinians and destroying several locations in Gaza including Al-Shuja’iyya, Okasha described Israelis as “real men” who sought vengeance from the “terrorist” Hamas troops.
In a bid to normalise relations between Egypt and Israel on the local level, a delegation of Arab journalists including an Egyptian visited Tel Aviv in a media tour last week.