The situation continues to deteriorate in post-Arab Spring Egypt. We’ve previously charted the alarming rise of Egyptian-Israeli tensions since the overthrow of Mubarak, and noted that most Egyptians want to annul their country’s peace treaty with the Jewish state. Now comes this:
A leading Islamist candidate in Egypt’s presidential election has branded Israel a “racist state” and said a shared 1979 peace treaty was “a national security threat” that should be revised.He also denounced al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden’s assassination by US special forces as an act of “state terrorism,” in a late Saturday Egyptian television interview.Abul Fotouh, a front runner in the May 23-24 election according to polls, had earlier described Israel as an “enemy” in a televised debate with his main contender, former foreign minister and Arab League chief Amr Moussa.In Saturday’s interview with the private Egyptian CBC satellite station, he said he had opposed the treaty since its implementation. “I still view the peace treaty as a national security threat to Egypt, and it must be revised.”
This could be a little less bad than it looks. “Revised” is not the same thing as “abolished.” It’s possible that some tweaks could turn the treaty into something that Egyptian Islamists would accept. If so, that would be a considerable advance toward Israel’s long term goal of a durable and sustainable peace with its neighbors.The Israeli-Palestinian conflict gets all the attention, often with little effect. Perhaps it’s time to start worrying instead about the brewing Israeli-Egyptian conflict–before it’s too late. At Via Meadia we hope the State Department is on top of what could be a very important question: how, exactly, could the treaty be revised so that the new government can accept it — and can a set of revisions be worked out that both Egyptians and Israelis can live with?