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Egyptian Spokesmen: Put Treaty With Israel to a Referendum

Spokesmen for the two Egyptian presidential candidates have advocated for putting the peace treaty with Israel to a vote in a referendum.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 4/24/2014, 6:13 AM

Spokesmen for the two Egyptian presidential candidates recently advocated for putting the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel to a vote in a referendum.

The debate between the spokesmen of Hamdeen Sabahi and Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi aired on Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV on April 3 and was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

“Our enmity with the Zionist enemy goes to our very existence. It's either us or them. No peace is possible,” said Tamer Hindawi, Sabahi’s spokesman, during the debate.

He further claimed that “The Zionist enemy is clearly the head of colonialism in the region. In our view, the Camp David Accords are responsible for many of our crises, and might even be the main reason for Egypt's subjugation to America, and for the decline in its role as an Arab, Islamic, and African leader.”

“If it were up to me,” continued Hindawi, “I would abolish the Camp David Accords right now. But if you ask about Sabahi's campaign position – Sabahi believes that the Zionists are our enemy, but when the historic moment arrives, he will decide what action to take.”

Meanwhile, Mahmoud Badr, Al-Sisi’s spokesman, said that the former Egyptian defense minister “will hold extensive discussions about what the Egyptian people gain from these accords. If it turns out that we do not need them, I believe that Al-Sisi will not hesitate and will put them to a referendum.”

Both spokesmen also supported fighting the “Zionist enemy” with Hindawi saying, “We support anyone who points his gun at the Zionist enemy. As long as they point their weapons at the Zionist enemy, we support them, but we are against anyone who turns his gun elsewhere.”

Badr added, “I say the same thing: We support anyone who fights the Zionist enemy, but if these weapons are turned towards Egypt, we will chop off the hands that hold them.”

Under the regime of Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi, there were calls to urgently change the peace treaty with Israel, with an adviser to the Islamist president saying that in its current form, the historic treaty maintains the national security of the “Zionist enemy” more than it helps Egypt's national security.

Tamarod, the Egyptian movement which led the opposition to Morsi, has since his ouster began collecting signatures to a new initiative calling to cancel the peace treaty with Israel.

Tamarod’s latest initiative, reported in August, came in the wake of what they called the “unacceptable U.S. interference in Egypt’s political affairs.” The members of the group are demanding that the Israel-Egypt treaty be put to a referendum.

Last year, the Cairo Administrative Court ruled that it has no jurisdiction over a lawsuit demanding the cancellation of the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.

The court said at the time that the issue involves state sovereignty, which is under the president’s purview.