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After Clashes At Egypt's Presidential Palace, Morsi Slips Back Home



CAIRO – After a night of clashes outside the Egyptian presidential palace, Mohammed Morsi is reportedly back in his office Wednesday and “resuming his duties normally,” according to Cairo-based website Masrawy.

Protestors continued to camp through the night in front of Itihadiya Palace (Heliopolis), Morsi's residence since he was elected President last spring. Demonstrations intensified throughout the day Tuesday to challenge the new self-declared powers of Morsi. Indeed, liberal activists seem to have adopted Tuesdays as their protest day, instead of Fridays now reserved to the supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist organization of which Morsi has long been a member.

This latest was the Tuesday of the “last warning,” with some 10,000 protestors gathered around the presidential palace, while others continued to camp in Tahrir Square. While many were calling for the downfall of the regime using the same slogans used against longtime President Hosni Mubarak, most were instead calling for the cancellation of the Constitutional declaration and the referendum on the Constitution.

Some demonstraters invaded the Presidential palace, climbing the sharp wires surrounding it and battling presidential security. Some sources say that policemen took the side of protestors and even let them use their vans. Two hours later, an official spoke anonymously to the newspaper Al Fagr, saying that Morsi fled using the back door at 6 p.m.

The Nov. 22 declaration that the President issued entitles him to alone hold both the final executive and the legislative say, while reducing the judicial power until the new Constitution is officially ratified. Prominent opposition figures like Mohamed El Baradei, Hamdin Sabbahi, Amr Moussa and others called on the Egyptian people to take to the streets. Some courts announced the suspension of their functions, with judges declaring Morsi's move a violation of the principle of judicial independence and separation of powers.

The “last warning” Tuesday was a clear message to the regime and the Brotherhood to not underestimate liberal forces. Opposition writer Alaa El Aswanytweeted:

هذه رسالة واضحة للديكتاتور.الثورة ليست ضعي�ة يامرسي وهي قادرة على خلعك.المرة القادمة لم تعود الى الحق لن تستطيع الهرب وسو� نضعك مع مبارك .

— Alaa Al-Aswany (@alaaaswany) December 4, 2012

“This a clear message for the dictator. The revolution is not weak Morsi. It is capable of bringing you to your end. The next time you don’t follow the rules, you will not be able to flee and we will put you where Mubarak is.”

Even if there were no serious injuries yesterday, the situation seems to be far from calming down. El Aswany tweeted again Wednesday morning:

وصلني الان خبر مؤكد :ان الاخوان يجهزون للاعتداء على المعتصمين امام الاتحادية . احمل مرسي مسئولية دماء المعتصمين .سيكون الثمن باهظا يا مرسي

— Alaa Al-Aswany (@alaaaswany) December 5, 2012

“I just received a confirmed piece of news: the Brotherhood is preparing to attack protestors in front of Itihadeya Palace. Morsi is in charge of the blood of these protestors. Know that the price to pay will be high Morsi.”

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Tahrir Square (Gigi Ibrahim)

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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

Turkey-Israel Relations? It's Complicated — But The Gaza War Is Different

Turkish President Erdogan has now called on the International Criminal Court to go after Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu for war crimes, as the clash between the two regional powers has reached a new low.

Photo of ​Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan walking

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Elias Kassem

Since the arrival two decades ago of now President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s relationship with Israel has been a mix of deep ideological conflict and cover-your-eyes realpolitik.

On the one hand, Erdogan has positioned himself as a kind of global spokesman for the Palestinian cause. His Justice and Development Party has long publicly and financially supported Hamas, which shares similar roots in the 20th-century Muslim Brotherhood movement.

And yet, since 2001 when Erdogan first came to power, trade between Turkey and Israel has multiplied from $1.41 to $8.9 billion in 2022. Moreover, both countries see major potential in transporting newly discovered Israeli natural gas to Europe, via Turkey.

The logic of shared interests clashes with the passions and posturing of high-stakes geopolitics. Diplomatic relations have been cut off, then restored, and since October 7, the countries’ respective ambassadors have been recalled, with accusations flying between Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Still, over the past 48 hours, Turkish-Israeli relations may have hit an all-time low.

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