Egyptians delighted with Red Sea islands court ruling

Published January 17th, 2017 - 09:01 GMT
Egyptian lawyer and former presidential candidate Khaled Ali celebrates the decision amid street crowds (Mohamed El-Shahed/AFP)
Egyptian lawyer and former presidential candidate Khaled Ali celebrates the decision amid street crowds (Mohamed El-Shahed/AFP)

Egyptians have flooded social media with praise of yesterday’s court ruling which confirmed Egyptian sovereignty over two disputed Red Sea islands.

The islands of Tiran and Sanafir, which are located at the narrow entrance to the Gulf of Aqaba, were to be handed over to Saudi Arabia in a controversial deal agreed in April. However, this most recent ruling in the Egyptian Supreme Administrative Court confirms an earlier lower court decision preventing the transfer of the islands.

The hashtag “Tiran and Sanafir are Egyptian” began trending globally, as tens of thousands of delighted Egyptians took to Twitter in celebration.

Good morning, may you smile with the taste of victory. Smile, be happy, enjoy lots and lots and lots. Charge up the planes of hope for the coming battle.

Others took the opportunity to criticize President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, whose administration made the contentious agreement in the first place. Egyptians protested the decision during demonstrations earlier this year in an unusual show of discontent not affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood, the main opposition to Sisi's rule. Displeasure over the deal fed into general dissatisfaction over the ongoing economic crisis in Egypt.

Critics of Sisi yesterday hijacked a hashtag in his support to suggest that the island transfer deal was an act of treachery:

If you trust in a traitor who wanted to sell your land, then you are a traitor like him. A real fool. #IPreferToTrustInSisi

After selling the land, and being shown to be a coward by the court ruling, and after he floated the pound and made half of our people unable to find food and after the country remained in debt. #IPreferToTrustInSisi

Meanwhile, some addressed the issue of Saudi-Egyptian relations which have been strained in recent times, with disputes over military action in Syria and Yemen, and delayed Saudi aid deliveries to Egypt, adding to disagreements over the islands. Several Saudis tweeted reconciliatory words following the court decision:

Note: Our ordinary working Egyptian brothers > patriots who wish to defend Egypt. Our ordinary working Saudi brothers > patriots who wish to defend Saudi. This, in order to create a network between our two peoples.

Saudi attempts to extend the hand of friendship aside, however, it seems that Timothy Kaldas of the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy was right in saying: “Outside of government circles, you’ll be hard pressed to find an Egyptian upset about this ruling.”


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