Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, the leading candidate in the race for Egypt’s presidency, said Monday that there is a chance for “true peace” with Israel, if it adopts the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative.
The comments by Sisi were made in an interview to Sky News, the same interview in which he stated that, if elected, he would be willing to consider making changes to the peace agreement with Israel.
“There is a real opportunity to establish peace with Israel and for it to be able to exist naturally in the region, if it accepts the Arab Peace Initiative,” he said, referring to the initiative presented in 2002 by Saudi Arabia, and which demands that Israel withdraw completely from Judea and Samaria, at which point the 22 Arab countries would supposedly normalize relations with Israel.
Similar comments were made last week by Egypt’s former foreign minister, Amr Moussa, though he made his comments in the context of Hamas, which he said must recognize the existence of Israel in order to make it possible to move forward with a Palestinian state.
“I believe that Hamas should declare its acceptance of the Arab initiative of 2002, which is the map of normalization and recognition of the state of Israel together with the establishing of the Palestinian state and the withdrawal of the occupied territory,” said Moussa, who is close to Sisi.
In the interview with Sky News, Sisi referred to Hamas and said that “Hamas's positions caused it to lose the sympathy and empathy on the part of the Egyptian people.”
Egypt, which was once close to Hamas, has grown increasingly hostile to the group after the Egyptian military ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi. Hamas is an offshoot of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood.
Last month, an Egyptian court outlawed Hamas, much like it banned the Muslim Brotherhood earlier this year, and ordered all of its assets seized.