“What is left,” Mohammed Badie said, “except for us to loudly demand to stop the issue of normalization” and “to review the Camp David accord and for it to be reviewed by a freely elected parliament?” In an e-mailed weekly statement, he also called for cancellation of “economic interests” such as natural-gas exports to Israel and industrial zones.
A poll released last month by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project found that 54 percent of 1,000 Egyptians surveyed want the government to end the peace treaty with the Jewish state. The Muslim Brotherhood, the largest and best-organized opposition group to former President Hosni Mubarak, is setting up a political party and said it will contest up to half the parliamentary seats in September elections.
Responding to a question about the group’s call to review the Camp David agreement, Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Menha Bakhoum said today in a telephone interview that Egypt is committed to all its “international contractual obligations.”
“This is a kind of political and ideological rhetoric and has little weight beyond that,” Emad Gad, who heads the Israeli studies program at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo, said of Badie’s call. “It represents an ideological position that may appeal to large swaths of the Egyptian population.”
Gaza Border Crossing
Badie also called for working to “permanently” open the Rafah crossing point with the Gaza Strip and “ending the issue of securing the borders of the Zionists.”
Bakhoum said on April 29 that Egypt plans to open its Rafah border crossing in what analysts say is a sign of a shift from Mubarak-era foreign policies. Egypt yesterday hosted a ceremony celebrating an agreement it brokered that ended an almost four- year rift between the Palestinian groups Fatah and Hamas.
Under Mubarak, who stepped down in February after 18 days of mass demonstrations, Egypt cooperated with Israel to impose a blockade on Gaza that Israel says is necessary to prevent Hamas and other Islamist groups from importing weapons that could be used against the Jewish state. The policy has been unpopular in Egypt. The U.S. allows goods made in so-called Qualified Industrial Zones in Jordan and Egypt, using Israeli input, to benefit from duty-free access to its market. The arrangement rewarded the two countries for signing peace agreements with the Jewish state.
The blockade cut off most civilian traffic and restricted trade with the territory, whose residents say they face goods shortages as a result.
Egypt also sells natural gas to Israel. Prosecutors on April 21 ordered the detention of former Oil Minister Sameh Fahmy and five other former officials amid an investigation into the agreement. Egypt’s opposition has long said that Egypt was selling the gas to Israel below market price.
To contact the reporter on this story: Mariam Fam in Cairo at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mahmoud Kassem at email@example.com