Are Egypt's Islamic Parties Planning to Nullify the Peace Treaty with Israel?

(Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Jonathan D. Halevi - The prevailing optimism in media reports concerning the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafist party's readiness to adhere to the peace treaty with Israel is based on general statements made by senior officials in both parties. These statements maintain that Egypt must honor the international treaties that it signed. Yet a more rigorous examination of the two parties' stances identifies a markedly different tendency. Both seek a way to cast off the Camp David agreement in a manner that will incur minimal diplomatic and economic damage to Egypt, and restore Egypt to its leading role in the circle of states confronting Israel. The Muslim Brotherhood has set a number of criteria for examining international agreements, including the Camp David agreement: the considerations of Islamic canon law (Sharia), the position of the Egyptian people, and the degree of Israel's compliance with the agreement from Egypt's perspective. The strategic objective of the Egyptian Islamic movements is to transform Egypt into a prime regional force that will lead the diplomatic and military battle against Israel. This means re-examining the Camp David agreement and submitting it to the decision of the new parliament that will be controlled by the Islamic parties or to a referendum - thereby alleviating the responsibility of any future Egyptian government for canceling the peace treaty. These developments can be averted if the U.S. and its allies take a firm position against any initiative to undermine the Treaty of Peace between Israel and Egypt, and all echelons of the Egyptian establishment are made to understand the implications of any such action. Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi, a senior researcher at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, is a former advisor to the Policy Planning Division of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

2011-12-26 00:00:00

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