Sisi: If Needed, We'll Amend Treaty with Israel

Egypt’s leading presidential candidate says he would be willing to consider making changes to the peace agreement with Israel.

Elad Benari ,

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi
Abdel Fattah al-Sisi

Egypt’s former army chief and leading presidential candidate, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, said Sunday that, if elected, he would be willing to consider making changes to the peace agreement with Israel.

"If we are asked to make amendments to the peace treaty with Israel, we will do it," Sisi said in an interview with Sky News, his first interview with foreign media since announcing his candidacy.

The comments by Sisi are in contrast to ones he made just last week, when he told local media that he would “respect all international treaties and contracts, including the peace treaty with Israel.”

In the same breath, however, Sisi also said that if Israel won't recognize the "state of Palestine," with its capital in Jerusalem, he will never visit Israel.

The 1979 treaty has been increasingly put in question since the 2011 revolution which toppled former President Hosni Mubarak.

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.

Despite the calls, Morsi maintained the peace treaty, though at one he rejected an Israeli request to upgrade the relations between the countries and also recalled the Egyptian ambassador to Israel in protest of Israel’s counterterrorism Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza in late 2012.

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.

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.