Egyptian Popular Support for Revoking of Peace Treaty

Since protests began in Egypt and especially since Mubarak was indirectly ousted from power the issue of the Camp David agreement has been on Israeli and American minds. There is a new poll released by Haaretz today that shows 54% of Egyptians would like a revoking of the 1979 Camp David agreement between Sadat and Begin. This is of no surprise since the deal was made without Egyptian popular support and maintained in a similar fashion.

The treaty was signed by Egypt for many reasons. The first and most important, I believe at least, is Sadat’s desire to fall under American auspices instead of Soviet. He made many moves to emphasize this message in the 70s as the Soviets had let him down economically and militarily. The second most important reason Sadat signed it was he knew that militarily he could never recover Sinai and that political negotiations were the only way. The reasons Israel signed it were first, the Israelis wanted to show that they were willing to give some territories back. The second reason ties with the first in the more practical reason of Israel wanted to solidify its control of the West Bank specifically and Gaza secondly. Israel knew if it could take Egypt, the biggest and strongest of the Arab states it would have no problem (even more so) facing a military threat from Syria and Jordan although this was a minimal risk at best. Begin was able to give Sinai back to its rightful owners because it had minimal national/religious significance, unlike the West Bank. Israel also knew if it could take the Egyptians out of the question a united Arab negotiating team would never amount and allow Israel to use its power to force concessions on the Arab states.

Everyday Egyptians have no seen the fruit of the peace treaty as of yet, 33 years later, and have obviously become more disillusioned. Egyptians were sold the idea because of economic cost benefits, meaning the US would be giving aid to Egypt, Israelis would be traveling to Egypt, spending money, and buying Egyptian products (oil and cotton specifically). This has not panned out what so ever. The US gives less aid now than it did 30 years ago and Israelis barely leave the Red Sea coast area for tourism. Israel has in addition not abided by principles of the terms regarding the West Bank and Gaza. The Egyptian government under Mubarak was more than complicit in the atrocities the Israelis committed in Gaza from 1981-today and the Egyptian people see this as counter to their desires. Egyptians are not known as great bearers of Arab Nationalism, or great supporters of Palestinian Nationalism but nor do they desire to see the situation continue, especially with their government’s aid. Although I do not see their wish ever coming to fruition I do agree that if nothing else, the treaty needs to be renegotiated, if not revoked altogether.


24 thoughts on “Egyptian Popular Support for Revoking of Peace Treaty

  1. Given the upheaval across the mid-East and given the stalemate that has endured between the Palestinians and Israel seems endlessly deadlocked, it may follow that resetting the ground rules may assist in refocusing the attention of both parties and the world.

  2. What terms should be renegotiated? If I’m trying to look at this hypothetical situation (for now…) of revoking the peace treaty and understand if it’s an Egyptian priority or more of a Pan-Arabian priority to leverage Israel into ending the occupation in Gaza and the west bank. my gut feeling is that Egypt will lose it’s negotiator status held in the eyes of Israeli and US decision makers, similar to change of views held towards the current Turkish government (especially in the Israeli view, but also the US – as viewed in the wikileaks documents).

    If Egypt will somehow happened to secure a leading role of renegotiating the Peace treaty with Israel as a part of the the Arab Peace initiative, as well of being able to transform that document into a viable treaty that could be negotiated then I can certainly see the trade-off

    I won’t bet that this move will be a real option… this move will need greater operational stability for the Egyptian future leaders and a more coherent decision making process (that might come of age later on). Not mentioning the facts that the Saudis won’t like the fact their thunder was stolen, and rephrasing the Arab Peace Initiative into something acceptable to all parties will take some great thinking and maneuvering.

    As some Egyptian officials (including the ambassador to Israel) had stated the call revoking the peace treaty with Israel is political ammo for just about anyone vowing for power in Egypt and trying to muster popular support.

    1. I do not disagree that it would be a giant leap for the Egyptians. Since the Egyptians signed the treaty they have subjugated their prime status for background player. How the elections and transition of power (although it will probably be minimal) occurs could create a huge shift. It really all relies on the army and how it views the role of Egypt in Arab and International affairs. Since the late 70s they have decided on an Egypt only approach more or less but under pressure could, theoretically, change that. I do not think they will as they have not offered any suggestions to this idea. They do not want to start another regional battle with Saudi Arabia as they lost the first one and would possibly lose again. Beyond the US and Israel I think Turkey is in better eyes internationally for not following the Israeli line. THey have increased trade with Arab and Muslim states and better relations with these states since the Flotilla incident but as you see they have not taken a leading role since. This situation could happen with Egypt in regards to Rafah or some other incident, it is not that far fetched to me.
      In terms of what could be negotiated better I think hte whole framework would have to be abandoned and a treaty based off of 242, 338, and 194 would have to be established and Egypt not settling on the benevolence of the Israelis to end the occupation.

      1. I can certainly agree that Turkey has improved its standing in the Muslim and Arab world since it disassociated itself from Israel in the aftermath of the flotilla incident. I think it was more of an excuse than a trigger – previously it seemed that there was shift in Turkish goals to become a more of a leader to the moderate Muslim world and less of a go-between and middle-man to the Western world (the whole joining EU union thing contributed as well). So if a similar shift in Egyptian goals will occur then I can see it happening as well. If the military Elite will have its way I don’t think it will happen though.

        Oops… forgot to put in the Golan heights, so yeah 242 and 338. 194 emphasize is exactly the article in the Arab Peace Initiative I think should be revised into something more coherent and clear that Israelis can decide yes or no about.

      2. Turkey is a unique case I think because of the EU aspect and their disillusionment with the games the EU countries have played with them. I think it was not intentional but more an issue of convenience that this issue came up for them to take a stand.
        In regards to 194 it is rather explicit that it has to be at the agreement of the governments involved and since we both understand politics means “what Israel will allow.” Whether this is 50k, 100k is uncertain but it has to be return, compensation or a mixture of both. The Saudi plan basically followed international law to the last letter which is what Israel needs to adhere to. None of the demands we radical and have yet to been addressed by Israel.

  3. 50K or 100K as a trust factor and a step to reunite families is a very applicable in my mind (I can’t remember exactly but I think it was actually proposed by Israel in order to sooth the political turmoil of resolution 194), but I’m pretty sure that’s not the Right to Return Palestinians talk about… to my understanding refugee status is endorsed on descendent’s of the original 750,000 refugees – I actually can’t find the exact number of how many refugees res. 194 applies to nowadays (I was told it’s over 4 million, that’s excluding refugees granted status post-’67 of course – they will have the Palestinian state to return to)

    Compensation is in my mind the surest way through this – Do you think granting such a limited number of Palestinians the right to return and supplying compensations to will suffice? Does the Palestinian and Arab street agrees with this?

    1. 50k-100k is what the Israeli and Palestinian negotiatiors have been talking about since Taba and Geneva. As of now it is over 4 million but could be more. If the Palestinians who were kicked out in 1967 were also refugees of 48, it is possible they would fall under that category, but do not know. Since the full number is never talked about we can never get a full grasp of who does and does not apply. If Israel let in 100,000…and compensated Palestinians it is not possible that would be enough. Palestinians want admittance of a wrong doing to them, and the choice between compensation or returning. I think a good portion would choose compensation but that should be their choice.

      1. Ah, so it’s the full Right to Return, to whomever it applies to and hoping a good portion will chose compensation over this right – and I’m not that sure that even the majority will chose so. are there studies and researches to support that? besides that what about those who will chose to be compensated and will seek to remain in their host-states (Syria, Lebanon, Jordan) – who said that these states will actually allow them to stay as fully fledged citizens? if they won’t (for example Lebanon I’ll assume) then the choice is quite clear.

        there’s a whole “what about the day after” question looming here… but I won’t go that off-topic. since we’re actually debating an applicable revision to the Arab Peace Initiative – I don’t feel that the Israeli public will accept the repatriation of untold millions (I say this personally as well) and adding such a clarification will make the whole Peace Initiative moot (and that’s the reason it wasn’t phrased this way in the first place).

      2. I think symbolically some would choose to return, mostly from Lebanon and Syria and some from the West Bank as well. When I was referring to the Right of Return I was referring to the Palestinian perception and interprettation of the Right of Return. THe Saudi Peace Initiative knows the power balance quiet well so I feel it is an issue that will leave up to Israel. If Israel were to compensate very heavily, admit the wrong doing, and let in a symbolic number (it would have to be higher than 100,000 because that is what the Americans asked in the late 40s). Perhaps 250,000, I do not know. That might be enough. Palestinians want an admission of wrong doing and some form of justice to deal with it. In terms of a large scale polling on the issue, the last I knew it does not exist. There are small scale ones that have taken place but I think are still flawed because of the lack of knowledge of what amount of compensation would be offered. There is a book “Palestinian Refugees, The Right of Return” that does a sample in Lebanon where it is perceived to be the highest because of the horrible conditions of the camps.
        In regards to your issue of the day after, I think we both know that there won’t suddenly be an influx of politically motivated militants returning to Palestine. Israel would screen even person to the slightest degree and handpick the number they agreed to.
        But to get back ON topic, the Saudi Peace Initiative was an agreement by Arab states who are not democratic minus Lebanon. Since when does the Arab Street get factored into Israeli negotiations? WHy start now considering that? 😛
        The vast majority (77%) of the refugees live in Israel proper, the West Bank, Gaza, and Jordan so like i said I think the Lebanese would opt for return to either Israel or the Palestinian state. If they stay they will have a better chance of being integrated since their numbers will be lower. In Syria where they are treated better than Lebanon, again I think with the current situation there many would choose the Palestinian state or Israel proper. The rest would stay and hopefully get more rights since the “conflict will be over.” In Jordan I think most will stay in Jordan except the worst camps might opt for the Palestinian state.
        When factoring in the Israeli doomsday scenario you have to factor in the Palestinian desire to live as second class citizens in their former lands. This is a tough one to gauge.
        The issue is so tough to academically speak on beyond the international law aspect because the issue hasn’t come close to dealing with after 1949 so there is little in terms of survery or precise numbers and who qualifies.

      3. Israel would have to conduct massive research into what it would take to pay off these refugees essentially. The worse their situation is the more you will have to pay them to trade their right of return. Unfortunately we are nowhere near that point. Israel has the money pay these people off there is no question, but it will have to allow in a certain number, also no question. The question is does the US taxpayer and teh Arab World want to pay to make this happen, both in money and rights. Also what do you give someone who was displaced, dispossessed, treated horribly, denied their existence, and living in refugee camps/houses their whole life? What would you expect? It is the toughest question regarding the Palestinian issue, hence why it is always ignored.

  4. You’re contradicting yourself… if Israel will decide the number of refugees allowed to return we’re back to 50K, 100K… The rest will have to live with the compensation agreed upon. So those politically motivated militants, who were of course kept out of Israel, will claim this was all a hoax and the occupation is still very much alive (NATO presence, IDF presence: “same same”) and that the right to return is still yet to be completed, now given an historical approval by Zionists themselves: i.e “the second stage” >> isolated border incidents >> Israeli retaliation >> rockets into center Israel >> massive Israeli retaliation >> …

    Militant organizations will have all the right political reasons to initiate a new round of violence: they won’t be a part of the peace process… and I don’t see them relinquishing their support base so soon and claiming “Yep, we didn’t solve it… but it’s over :-), put down your weapons” And I’m not even talking about fundamentalists organization that are starting to pop up in Gaza… we’re all lucky they are few in numbers for now.

    And even in this highly hypothetical scenario I see this as back in square one – might even be worse.

    1. There was no contradiction at all. I said if Israel wants to maximize the chance for success it will need to do around 250,000 with heavy compensation and admittance of guilt exactly for the reasons you stated about taking the issue away from the militants who will reject it. If you only offer 50-100k and compensation with no admittance it will solve nothing at all. You are fulfilling my point. If Israel wants to get out of this situation with the least resistance politically and militantly it will need to offer more, it can not use its diplomatic power here as it would like. I am trying to realistic about the issue, personally I am for a full fledged Right of Return or compensation by choice of the refugees with minor exceptions. 100,000 is what the US tried to offer in 1949 when there were 750,000. Now there are 4million, sorry but that is simply not enough. Plain and simple, if you want to minimize the power of militant organizations can have ont he situation you need to concede on issues that are important to them. Especially issues that are important to the vast majority of Palestinians and the Middle East at large. You can not have it both ways.

      1. If there won’t be a full Right to Return (50K, 100K, 250K… doesn’t matter…) there will always be Palestinian discontent from the Peace agreement, especially among those who wish to portray it as a failure.
        I’m curious what will this admittance entails… If Israel says were “an occupying colonialist force who massacred and uprooted hundreds of thousands by force and violence…” then my reply as a Palestinian would be: “then get out!” I’m sure many militants will surely say so… we expected the Russians to pull out of the Eastern block. We expect the Turks to pull out of Northern Cyprus… Why not the Zionist occupational force?

        “I am for a full fledged Right of Return” – it’s your prerogative :-). then what you’re actually saying is that Palestinians have every right for this land and if they have the full right to return in full and if Israel is actually a colonial state with no basis then what you’re saying is that not only the Palestinians need to come back but in order to get “things right” Israelis need to get out (all willingly of course)

        And if there will be the full Right to Return Israel will actually cease being what it is and in the good case will be just another 3rd world corrupt and poor “democracy” with some contradicting Jewish and Islamic characteristics that will forever cause tension and unrest, and in the worst case will implode into a full fledged civil war…

      2. Of course there will be discontent as with everything Israel does there is discontent within its society. You can not eliminate discontent, but you can make their demands sound ridiculous and unimportant. I think most Palestinians would settle on “we expelled the indigenous population in areas that were awarded to Israel by the partition plan and the additional areas it took over afterwards.
        To me no state has a right to exist, I have stated this many times over, but especially one that is based off of ethnocracy and colonial inclinations. I do not want Jews to go anywhere. They can stay here all they want if they are willing to live in peace with their neighbors. So it was ok for the Zionist movement to make Palestine and Palestinians cease to exist, but when the idea is put the other way it is considered negative, nice contradiction yourself. 🙂 If I have to choose between what you say is a 3rd world corrupt country and a colonial being that has killed thousands, occupies millions and obstructs international law, please bring me that 3rd world country as soon as possible.

  5. Yeah I remember: Anti nationalist, me too. now… what about the rest of the people who live here? do they wan’t a no-state and the separation of state and “church”? should us two force them into our way thinking? we’re sure it’s the simplest and most logical solution? isn’t that thought colonialism?

    didn’t the Zionist movement agree to the partition plan?… And I’m not trying to make it sound negative at all – it’s a viable plan if someone can make it work… in the unbelievably unlikely situation that Israel will become a secular democracy it might as well be called “State-X” – even as an atheist there’s no reason I’ll live here… so yeah, I’ll “get out”. just need to decide if it’s NY or LA 😛 in the more believable scenario that we’ll replace one ethnocentric being with another… I’ll of course move to a more tranquil land somewhere in the western world. seen enough of this before.

    “If I have to choose between what you say is a 3rd world corrupt country and a colonial being that has killed thousands, occupies millions and obstructs international law, please bring me that 3rd world country as soon as possible.” – I’ll change “occupies” to past tense “occupied” – would you still prefer 3rd world corrupt country? mind you it’s the optimistic option of the two…

    1. Palestinians do not want a religious state, nor have ever promoted the idea of one. Nice try trying to flip the colonialism on me, you are the one talking about how Israel brought this area out of the third world and its disappearance would bring it back, I do applaud you for trying that trick.
      The Zionist movement did agree to the partition plan, never questioned it. But if you would like we can discuss book after book and the reasons why Ben-Gurion accepted it. As a means to an end, the end being 80% or more of the land under Jewish control as to their partition idea of 1946. How is turning the two identities into one national identity replacing one ethnocentric being with another, that is just factually flawe beyond belief.
      When Israel leaves the Occupied Territories (militarily and economically), takes out all settlements, justly compensates those under occupation for the land they stole and used, divides Jerusalem according to the June 1967 lines, settles the refugee problem (which is voted on by all Palestinians), and gives Palestinians with Israeli citizenship true equal rights with no preference to Jews and is acceptable to Israeli Jews, Israeli Palestinians, and Palestinians around the world I will go democratically with it and say sure.

      1. They don’t need to promote the idea of a religious state… since it’s already in full practice in the Palestinian territories. Well, not a “Shari’a state” like Iran… but a delicate balance between Civilian courts that apply criminal and other “normal” judiciary laws and Shari’a courts that apply to family and marital laws. It’s considered one of the best examples of how Islamic law can be incorporated into civilian life in a healthy non-fundamentalist way.

        If you say that Israel is a “Religious state” by definition I won’t argue with you – but from someone who lived in many parts of Israel I can say it’s not evident at all: there are some religious characteristics (not just Jewish, but mostly). I do completely agree it’s not fully democratic yet and has several characteristics which are outright racist – I think of them as the true threat to Israel and I’m hoping that the end of the Palestinian conflict will allow those factors to surface in the mainstream dialog more and resolved WHILE preserving it’s unique statue as State of Jewish people.

        It’s not flipping colonialism on you, and Israel brought only itself out of the 3rd world and not the area. I was just referring to the simple fact our personal views towards a secular no-state, or even a secular democracy state is not accepted by the majority on both sides:

        1. Hamas is a religious movement… who was elected democratically (read the charter once… that’s enough for me :-), the Muslim Brotherhood Charter is much much gentler and non-religious in my POV)
        2. turning the two identities into one national identity isn’t possible… the national Identity is completely intertwined with the Jewish belief of returning to the land of their for-fathers. I just hope that national identity will allow another Symbian national identity for Palestinians who will chose to continue living in Israel.

        I just came to terms that religion is, and will continue to be, an integral part of personal, national and pan-national identities in this region… most moderately and in a healthy balanced form, and very very few in a fundamentalist aggressive form.

        I can agree with your end-statement without a doubt (besides the fact that combining internal and external affairs is not acceptable). That’s the “what”, but it’s not clear of “how” it should be accomplished… that’s what really interests me.

      2. I would be curious for some examples and citations about this religious-civilian establishment you refer to in the West Bank. I never said Israel was a religious state, unless you consider Zionism a religion. How did Israel manage to “bring itself out of the 3rd world” as you say? I am curious as to your point of view on this issue, as I have an idea which is obvious but I am sure we disagree. Hamas was not elected on its religious credentials or desirability for a religious state.
        I do not think my last statement is possible, hence why I opt for the one state solution among other reasons.

  6. I’ll try to find out what was the name of the French documentary i’d seen on the subject: It shown the Sh’aria court in Nablus. I’ll some friends as well.

    Never thought on why Israel is not another 3rd world country… good question. What’s your take?

    Hamas wasn’t elected solely on its religious views, nor do I think Hamas would like to see the establishment of full Islamic law. but I also just can’t believe the Palestinian voter ignored the clear religious character of the party. It’s like saying they really really want a secular democracy but somehow managed to elect a body who hasn’t shown any intentions of establishing one.

    1. Israel has received many many billions of dollars from the West thorugh governments, Jewish organizations, and Christian organizations. It started with the Rothschild’s, then after the Holocaust with German Reparations and French military funding. Then after 1967 the US foot the bill. They have given Israel great technology, cheap military budgets and UN support in its highest form since. From 1967-1982 Israel got oil from the occupied Sinai (sold cheaply since because of Camp David), water from the Occupied Palestinian Territories and the Golan. It received cheap labor from the West Bank and Gaza, now from Southeast Asia and sub saharan Africa. If a country with this can not have a high per capita and living standards they ought to be ashamed of themselves. I will look at the article tomorrow when I get home, I have too much Hebrew and Arabic homework for tonight.

      1. So any State that is heavily endorsed will succeed – I certainly hope so, since it will inevitably stabilize the Future state of Palestine.

        I’m sure the factors you listed might attributed to the economic growth and stabilization but if I look at how the Israeli economy coped with the recent sub-prime crisis I have a feeling it’s more to do with the conservative economical behavior that is the state rule of thumb. You make it sound like Israel had it easy from the get-go… and all I remember is my mother explaining to me how spoiled I am and it wasn’t like this in the “Modest times” (Tkofat Ha’Zena). Anyways all I know about the current Israeli economy and that there’s something about the Israeli (not Jewish) character that makes Start-ups companies have a much higher percentage of success. But that’s just me… and I’m no expert.

      2. It depends on how much and what is funded. Israel is a decent case for this, having such heavy subsidies for its existence. Palestine does not get anywhere near enough to be sustained in this way, especially in the right fields. It is also important to note that while Israel was so heavily subsidized it invested in many key industries which helped it. It had very high taxes for a very long time, had a high savings rate etc. It has become a problem a couple different times in its existence since it is dependent. Also the political subsidies can not be overemphasized, which are hard to put into monetary numbers. Every generation has it easier than the last of course, and since your mom was around during the late 70s, early 80s she knows some of Israel’s worst times. Israeli start ups have such a high percentage because of the army, its socialization and skills training. It has excelled in this in the past 20 years with the electronic age.

    2. In regards to Hamas if you asked most Palestinians why Hamas won it was a simple “they were not Fatah, the corrupt ones, and they had a chance to win.” Now their numbers are down because people do not like their policies. THere are demonstrations against Islamic aspects of Hamas’ rule in Gaza all the time.

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