Leading candidate in Egypt presidential race calls Israel peace accord 'dead and buried'
Amr Moussa tells a mass rally in south Egypt
that the Camp David Accords with Israel should be 'consigned to the
shelves of history.'
The leading candidate in Egypt's
presidential race said on Sunday that the Camp David Accords should be
consigned to the shelves of history, describing the agreement as "dead
At a mass rally in southern
Egypt, Amr Moussa, who is currently ahead in Egypt's race for president,
spoke of the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt, saying that "the
Camp David Accords are a historical document whose place is on the
shelves of history, as its articles talk about the fact that the aim of
the agreement is to establish an independent Palestinian state."
Moussa went on to say that there is "no such thing" as the Camp David agreement.
"This agreement is dead and
buried. There is an agreement between Israel and Egypt that we will
honor as long as Israel honors it. The Jewish document that defines
relations between Israel and the Arabs is an Arab initiative from 2002
whose advancement should be bilateral: step for step, progress for
Moussa, who served for ten years
as foreign minister under former president Hosni Mubarak (and left his
post over disagreements with the former leader), differentitaties
between the Camp David Accords, which include the Palestinian articles,
and the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. The Egyptian public does
not necessarily make the same differentiation, however. The Camp David
Accords are seen as one whole, and all public discussions of them are
seen as a test of the foreign policy that is expected of Egypt's
presidential candidates, and mainly code according to which U.S. policy
towards each one of the candidates will be decided.
In a visit to the west of Egypt
two weeks ago, Moussa described the agreement as "ink on paper whose
period of authority is over," without differentiating between the
articles that deal with the Palestinians, and those that deal with peace
with Israel. Although Moussa is leaning on the support of some of the
secular parties and activist groups that were the backbone of the
January revolution, it is actually Islamist leaders that are talking
about their commitment to the Camp David Accords.
The head of Salafi Al-Nour party,
for example, said in December last year that his movement is not
opposed to the Camp David Accords, and that it is ready to negotiate
with Israel. Representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood movement,
including Khairat Al-Shater, who until recently was their candidate for
president, also emphasized their commitment to the Camp David Accords,
and have passed on this sentiment to the U.S. administration.
Moussa, despite this, has
followed a tough line on Israel for years. He designed Egypt's foreign
policy regarding Israel's nuclear capabilities, a policy that calls for
nuclear disarmament in the region, and he is particularly proud of his
part in putting the Palestinian problem on the international list of
priorities during his time as foreign minister.
Despite these views, 76-year-old
Moussa says that – if elected – he will only serve one term as Egyptian
president, a criticism that has come from those who are meant to be his
supporters. One member of the Al Wafd party, for example, said that
Moussa is the number one choice of the U.S., and that "even Israel does
not express its worry that over his election. He announced his intention
to stand for election as Egypt's president from the house of the Saudi
ambassador in Egypt, and no one knows are his sources of funding."
Jalal Amin, Professor of
Economics at the American University in Cairo and a prominent leftist
thinker, said that "Moussa is a remnant of Mubarak's regime... How else
can a man who served for ten years as foreign minister – a third of
which was under Mubarak – be silent about what is happening in the
country? What can of person is this?"
Is seems that in light of such
criticism – and in an attempt to distance himself from the policies of
the previous regime – Moussa is now embracing a critical stance toward
the peace accords with Israel.
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