It will be important to objectively understand and assess popular opinion in Egypt vis-a-vis Israel and any concerns about the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty.
February 27, 2011
By Felice Friedson – The Media Line
TML: Western nations are greatly concerned whether or not the new regime in Egypt will honor the 1979 treaty with Israel. The leader of the Muslim Brotherhood went on record saying this treaty needs to be revised at best, or scrapped at worst. What’s your take?
Al-Malki: I think not only the Muslim Brotherhood feels that way but I think the leftists and socialists groups are even more militant against the Camp David Accords and against the treaty with Israel than the Muslim Brotherhood. At the same time, one of the first communiqués by the army stated clearly and unequivocally that Egypt will honor all its treaties and all its international covenants that it has signed up to. At the end of the day, it’s the army. The fact that a lot of political powers in society that reflect a lot of people’s views that are asking for the treaty to be revised, it’s not something we shouldn’t have the right to do. There are certain elements in that treaty that perhaps do need to be revised and there’s nothing wrong with that. But I don’t think it would ever lead to a conflict with Israel at all. That’s partly because the army has decided there’s not going to be that type of conflict and partly because the Egyptian people in general don’t have a big problem with having a treaty with Israel. They just have a problem with certain aspects of how that has affected our policies abroad.
TML: Egypt has played a major role between the Israelis and Palestinians in the past. In this transition period, they’re going to take a back seat. How do you think that will develop in the future?
Al-Malki: I’m not so sure Egypt will take a backseat in the transition period. Obviously, we will have to tidy up our own house before we can help other outside organizations get back together and start pushing for the peace process. But I think the role of Egypt on that front is going to continue as it was. The thing is, I don’t think it was very successful before. I don’t think Egypt had the kind of leverage it was touted to have, unfortunately. We were paying a lot of lip service to a lot of people on all sides, but in terms of getting anything done, I think Egyptian diplomacy has failed. What proves that is that until now there is no reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas. There are still the same issues that have existed over the past years. Maybe taking a backseat could help the situation, but it won’t make it worse. It was bad enough already and I don’t think our intervention was helpful with anyone.