The official Facebook page for Egypt's Ministry of Foreign Affairs raised eyebrows on Tuesday when it published photos of a meeting between interim Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy and leaders of Jewish American organisations.
The ministry's page explained that the meeting focused on the future of US-Egyptian relations and how they have evolved in light of Egypt's "on-going democratisation process", highlighting that it is important to enhance bilateral relations in ways that will achieve the two countries' mutual interests.
The page also noted that Fahmy presented a detailed explanation about the Egyptian judicial system, its procedures and its full independence, emphasising the importance of respecting the judiciary's verdicts and decisions, given that all procedures provide for the fairness of trials, in reference to the Minya Criminal Court's decision to confirm the death sentence against 37 political opponents of the regime, in addition to giving preliminary death sentences to 682 other citizens, rulings that have sparked international outrage.
Dr Ahmed Al-Tohamy, an Egyptian professor of political science at the Cairo-based National Centre for Criminal and Social Research, told the New Arab news site that he does not understand the reasons behind the ministry's decision to publish these pictures on its official Facebook page, but stressed that relations with the pro-Israel lobby in the US has indeed constituted a key pillar of Egyptian foreign policy since the military coup on 3 July 2013.
He said the Egyptian regime realises the importance of maintaining close relations with the Israel lobby so as to ensure US support and continued military aid to Egypt, which is why the meeting focused on the Egyptian judiciary and its recent controversial court decisions.
Al-Tohamy found it "surprising" that Egyptian officials would discuss internal issues with foreign entities, which indicates that the Egyptian crisis is being "internationalised".
Habiba Abdel Aziz