By Khalid Amayreh in occupied Palestine
It is quite heartening that leaders of the Egyptian Muslim Brothers are speaking of their disdain and contempt of the 1979 Peace Treaty between Egypt and Israel.
It seems also prudent that the Islamist party, evidently the largest in Egypt, will not embark on a rash feat that could invite uncalculated reactions from the Zionist entity and its western allies, especially her guardian-ally, the United States.
The Muslim Brothers have said that they will respect Egypt's international obligations.
None the less, the Camp David treaty was not really a treaty of peace, but rather a treaty of submission and capitulation to Zionist regional hegemony, arrogance and military supremacy.
True, the Sinai Peninsula was "returned" to Egypt to the last inch. However, it is also true that vast swathes of the Sinai desert became off limit to the Egyptian forces. This is why smugglers, terrorists, saboteurs and foreign agents seem to act freely throughout that territory, blowing up gas pipelines, smuggling narcotics and other contrabands, and even attacking symbols of Egyptian sovereignty, including police centers and tourist resorts.
The defunct Egyptian regime of ex President Hosni Mubarak claimed mendaciously that the Sinai desert was completely liberated from the Israeli occupation. But how can Sinai are really completely liberated when the bulk of its territory is still off limit to the Egyptian army and air force?
In addition, it is quite scandalous how Israel came to understand the infamous treaty, e.g. that it gave the Zionist entity a carte blanch to gang up on the Palestinians, liquidate the Palestinian cause, though gradually and by desensitizing the world's moral conscience, and carrying out recurrent genocidal campaigns aimed at murdering, incinerating and maiming as many Palestinians as possible.
If evidence were needed, we are all invited to revisit the 2008-09 Israeli blitzkrieg on the Gaza Strip which did to Gaza what the allies bombing did to Dresden in the last phases of the Second World War.
Well, under these circumstances, one is prompted to ask whether Egypt, especially under an Islamist-ruled or Islamist influenced regime, is under any legal or moral obligation to abide by such a treaty.
Of course, the final say in this regard belongs to the Egyptian people. But the Egyptian people, who have suffered so much and for so long from Israeli criminality and aggression, and barbarianism doesn't seem to give that treaty the benefit of the doubt, that is if there is any doubt about the treaty's ignominious nature and disastrous legacy.
I realize that spasmodic and uncalculated statements may do more harm than good. However, there should be no question as to the pressing need to renegotiate that treaty if only because the government that signed that treaty back in 1979 was not a democratic government, which didn't enjoy the Egyptian people's acceptance.
This week, a Muslim Brotherhood's leader, Rashad Bayoumy, made it very clear that the Brotherhood will not recognize the "criminal state of Israel."
"Is it a pre-condition to recognize Israel in order to govern? This is not possible, no matter what the circumstances are. We don't recognize Israel at all. It is a criminal occupier."
Bayoumy, who is deputy to the Brotherhood's Supreme Guide, stressed that no member of the Brotherhood will ever sit down with an Israeli.
"I will not allow myself to sit with a criminal. We will not deal with them in any way."
He added that the Brotherhood may hold a national referendum to measure public opinion before taking a final decision about the treaty.
"We will take all the correct legal procedures with the treaty, it is not biding for me, and the people will have the final opinion about it.
"We didn't agree to the peace treaty; we will take all respectable legal procedures towards it. I believe we have the right to present it to the people and the elected parliament so that they can come to a decision about it."
The above words spell resolve but impetuousness as they reflect the long-suppressed disdain and rejection among Egyptians of a so-called peace treaty that enabled Israel to gang on the Palestinians and arrogated the remainder of their homeland.
In the final analysis, Egypt can and should hold Israel to account over the clauses of the treaty which make it an integral part of a wider process which also includes resolving the Palestinian question in accordance with UN Security Council 242 and 338.
However, since Israel has violated these resolutions rather starkly and scandalously, if only by building hundreds of Jewish colonies on occupied land, and by transferring hundreds of thousands of its citizens to live on land that belongs to another people, Egypt should be able to downgrade its commitment to and compliance with the infamous treaty to the bare minimum.
Such a posture on Egypt 's part wouldn't be viewed as declaration of war or even a unilateral promulgation of the treaty. It would only be viewed as a necessary measure reflecting Egypt 's sovereignty and national will.
There is no doubt that the treaty and relations with Israel will be a litmus test for the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) as well as the other Islamist party, the Nur, representing the Salafi brothers.
The Islamists under all circumstances must keep a distance from Israel even if bullied, coerced and pressured by the United States to behave otherwise. Any concession, real or imagined, in this regard will cost the Islamists dearly in terms of their standing in the eyes of the people.
The Islamists must not allow themselves to gain acceptance and favor from the criminal entity and her supporters, especially the Jewish-controlled US Congress, at the expense of the Egyptian people's acceptance of the Islamists.
In Egypt as elsewhere in the Arab and Muslim world, there is a mutually exclusive relationship between having normal relations with Israel and being accepted and respected by the masses. A government, including an Islamist or quasi-Islamist government, can only have either good relations with Israel and her supporters on the one hand, or acceptance and respect from the people, on the other. It can't have both, period.
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|William A. Cook|