There are many attitudes and ideologies which divide the Egyptians; nationals, leftists, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Salafis, Muslims and Copts, moderate and extreme. However, the common uniting factor is an absolute hatred of Israel. This suggests a sense of nationalism and nobility, because Israel – with all of its crimes against Egypt, the Arabs and the Muslims has not left them with any option other than hatred for being the main source of wrongdoing in the region.
Israel is the state which has invaded southern Lebanon several times and killed tens of thousands of its people; it's the state which has invaded the Gaza Strip and used white phosphorous bombs, killing 1,400 and wounding thousands more, mostly unarmed women and children; it's the one which intercepted the Freedom Flotilla in international waters and killed nine Turks; and it's the one which killed six Egyptian soldiers recently, whose blood is now mixed with the Sinai soil.
Those who demonstrated outside the Israeli embassy in Cairo and destroyed its defensive wall were ordinary citizens; they weren't sent by an Islamic or secular group. They expressed their hate by climbing 19 storeys, storming the embassy and burning the Israeli flag.
The young man who led the raid told the Republic newspaper that when he entered the embassy he "felt intense awe, and smelled the blood of the martyrs who fell in the Egyptian Sinai and the Baqar School and on the bank of the [Suez] canal under Israeli fire". What's more, he noted, "the residents of the building who saw him and his colleagues climbing the stairs, greeted them with joy, calling them heroes".
Thirty years of humiliating peace and cold normalisation did not change the Egyptians' feelings towards Israel. Thanks largely to the Israelis and their arrogant governments which take joy in humiliating Arabs and Muslims, massacring Palestinians and destroying the peace process, Egyptian anger and hatred grew.
The ruling military council in Egypt has not managed the crisis caused by the killing of the five Egyptian soldiers in Sinai in a resolute manner. Nor has it read the feelings of the people accurately. If it had, the council would have known that it had two options.
First, the Israeli ambassador should have been expelled immediately and diplomatic representation reduced to the minimum. This is what Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan has done in the continued absence of an Israeli apology for the flotilla killings. Second, Egypt should have insisted on a full unambiguous apology from Israel, with pledges not to repeat such an act and compensation for the victims' families.
It is unfortunate that the military council in Cairo did neither to calm the anger of the people; hence, the attack on the Israeli embassy. Now Israel has just a Consular Assistant in the Egyptian capital.
The young men who broke into the Israeli embassy revealed the vulnerability of the Zionist state in the face of the people's anger. Israel, which has terrorised Arab states and their rulers with its tanks and missiles, failed totally to protect its embassy or fire a single bullet despite the presence of armed guards. Why? The government in Tel Aviv was well aware of the repercussions of just one Egyptian protester being killed; a popular revolution against Israel or perhaps a war would have resulted. Arrogant Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who struts around as proud as a peacock refusing to apologise to Turkey and riding roughshod over Barack Obama, the President of the world's greatest state, was compelled to contact the latter for help to rescue his diplomats in Cairo. This is the same Netanyahu who, according to US Defence Secretary Robert Gates, did not hesitate to insult Obama or lecture him on how to deal with the peace process and not ask for a settlement freeze.
When Obama made that call to Field Marshal Tantawi on Israel's behalf did the Egyptian leader ask why America did not intervene to save the children of the Gaza Strip from Israeli bombs and missiles in December 2008/January 2009? Or why American-made fighter-bombers and attack helicopters are used against Palestinian civilians?
Sadly, he didn't pose those questions; instead, he did not hesitate to give the order for the Egyptian security forces to shoot at the demonstrators. Four were killed and around a thousand were wounded, all to protect Israel's citizens. Ironically, the Egyptian security forces disguised the Israelis in Arab dress, with Palestinian keffiyahs on their heads, to facilitate their transfer to Cairo airport, where an Israeli military aircraft transported them to Tel Aviv. This was an abuse of the keffiyeh, which is a symbol of Palestinian resistance and dignity across the world. Do those Israelis still look at it as a symbol of terrorism, I wonder.
What followed was sickening, as Netanyahu complained that the storming of the embassy was a violation of Israel's sovereignty while his country remains one of the world's worst violators of international laws and conventions, and the sovereignty of its neighbours.
Nevertheless, its government's arrogance looks to have lost Israel two of its most important allies in the region, Turkey and Egypt. The Zionist state faces isolation in Europe as well, and perhaps soon in America. The Middle East is changing rapidly, but Israel is not keeping pace. Netanyahu's right-wing coalition appears to be stuck in Cold War mode.
It is a happy coincidence that Recep Tayyip Erdogan has now visited Egypt, in the first official visit of a Turkish Prime Minister in 15 years, to lay the foundations of the first strategic alliance between arguably the most important two countries in the Muslim world.
Concrete walls around its embassies and borders will not protect Israel, and will not defend its diplomats and settlers from the wrath of ordinary people. Only genuine peace can do that, but Israel has killed the peace and so must bear the consequences of its crimes.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.