Egypt faced a wave of criticism in the Arab world after casting its first-ever vote in favor of the state of Israel at the United Nations, Arutz Sheva reported on Monday.
The unprecedented support for Israel came in elections for membership in the U.N. Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), where Israel was accepted by a vote of 117 for and only Namibia against, with 221 countries abstaining, including 10 Arab members.
But Egypt paid a price, as news of its vote triggered an angry reaction among Arab social media users.
Attempting to quell the criticism, Egyptian officials hastened to explain that the vote was cast not for Israel but for the several Arab countries who were also candidates for membership.
“Egypt’s commitment to support the candidate of the Arab countries is the main motive behind the vote in favor of the resolution,” Egyptian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid told The Cairo Post over the weekend.
According to the Post, Egypt and other Arab General Assembly members requested to vote for each of the six states on the list individually, but were refused, voting was for or against the entire list in one go.
The list of new members included El Salvador, Sri Lanka, the United Arab of Emirates, Oman and Qatar.
The Israeli mission to the U.N. hailed the acceptance as a “victory” for Israel following “intensive diplomatic efforts.”
The Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space was established in 1959 and has 84 members. It is concerned with the use of space for peace, security and development.