The collapse and sudden death of Egypt’s former President Mohammed Morsi in court on Monday has completely superseded everything else on the agenda in the Israeli Arab community, yet the Palestinian factions in Gaza and the West Bank have stayed relatively silent on the matter.
The picture of Morsi collapsing in court went viral on social media within hours, with some posts accompanied by verses from the Quran while others called him a martyr.
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Egyptian television has been saying that Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate who was elected to office in 2012 and ousted a year later by the military, died of heart attack.
Knesset members from the Arab parties have been publicly demanding that Egyptian authorities investigate the circumstances of his demise, after Mohammed Sudan of the Muslim Brotherhood in London accused the Egyptian government of causing Morsi’s death by withholding medicine or medical care in prison.
Sheikh Hamad Abu Daabes, head of the southern faction of the Islamic Movement, published a mourning announcement and called for prayer on behalf of Morsi at all mosques throughout Israel.
Sheikh Kamal Khatib, the former deputy head of the northern faction and member of the High Arab Monitoring Committee, also called for prayer in the deceased president’s memory. Kahtib added a call for the Egyptian people to hold mass protests against the regime of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi and the military revolution Sissi has led. It was that revolution that ended Morsi’s political career following Egypt’s first democratic election, in 2012.
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Khatib and Abu Daabes also conveyed condolences to Morsi’s family, to the Muslim Brotherhood, and to all the supporters of the movement.
Some Arab towns in Israel, including Sakhnin, Nazareth, Umm al-Fahm and Rahat, held memorials in Morsi’s memory, at which participants called to investigate the circumstances of his death. The mosque in the Ajami neighborhood of Jaffa set up a spot for mourning.
In contrast to these commemorations among Israeli Arabs, the Palestinian Authority and Gazan authorities held no event whatsoever to mark Morsi’s death. Palestinian sources in Nablus say Palestinian security forces stopped residents from setting up a mourning tent, saying that it could spark tensions.
Palestinian force also claimed that the political level had made the decision to prevent any display of mourning for Morsi.
Hamas issued a statement that its political leader, Ismail Haniyeh, had conveyed his condolences to Morsi’s widow by phone. However, sources in Gaza say that Hamas did not want any action to be taken that could further upset its relations with Cairo, given that ties between the two had reached their lowest point after Morsi’s ouster and the Egyptian regime's outlawing of the Muslim Brotherhood.