A third of a century ago Israel wanted peace with Egypt and Israel actually believed there could be peace with Egypt. So did Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and perhaps even the Egyptian people.
But what a difference 33 years makes.
We’ve discovered since then that we got a bum deal. We signed with an unreliable and unfaithful partner who did not meet its obligations. And though we got at least got a 33-year cease-fire out of it, we did not get peace.
Instead, the Egyptians spent 33-years ever-escalating their hatred of Israel while missing the opportunity to drag themselves up from being a third world country. And while it’s easy to blame former Egyptian president Mubarak for the hatred, Mubarak’s enemies on both side of the religious spectrum, the Muslim Brotherhood and Egyptian secular pseudo-intellectuals, such as historical revisionist Abdel Wahab El-Messiri did their part too.
DESPITE EGYPT’S failure to deliver on its own side of the bargain, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsy recently said he wants to reopen up the Israel-Egyptian peace treaty, to renegotiate and link peace to Palestinian statehood, and to remilitarize the Sinai. For Morsy this is a one-way street: Egypt will demand and Israel will give.
If only Morsy had actually read the Egyptian-Israel peace treaty.
There were, in fact, two agreements signed by Israel and Egypt. As international law expert, Professor Avi Bell, has recently explained,
“The 1979 Israel-Egypt peace treaty and the 1978 “Framework for Peace in the Middle East” are not the same treaty. However Morsy may [choose to] misinterpret the 1978 Framework for Peace in the Middle East agreement, it has nothing to do with Egypt’s obligations to uphold its treaty obligations in the 1979 peace treaty.”
It is the 1979 peace treaty that requires Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai, the demilitarization of the Sinai, and of course normalization of relations between the two countries – the last being something the Egyptians never properly implemented. The 1978 treaty deals with “negotiations on the resolution of the Palestinian problem.”
Bell argues that,
“If Morsy believes that the 1978 Agreement is not merely an agreed upon framework for future negotiations, but a binding treaty still in force, Morsy must abandon several anti-Israel positions adopted by Egypt and the United States in recent years”
That’s because, as Bell explains, the 1978 Agreement recognizes U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 as the basis for resolution of the conflict. That resolution recognizes Israel’s right to secure boundaries, but fails to mention Palestinian statehood or the Palestinians at all. While it calls for an Israeli withdrawal from terrotories captured in 1967, as part of the establishing a “just and lasting peace” it does not describe the extent of the withdrawal and many of the documents drafters have said that the word “all” was left out so that Israel would not be required to withdraw from all the territory, but only some of it based on negotiations with Jordan, Syria and Egypt.
The Road Map (Bush’s plan for a democratic Palestinian state), U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194 (the partition resolution), the 2002 Arab League decision (Israeli return to the pre-67 borders), the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1397 (envisioning a Palestinian state and recalling 242) as well as recent “U.S. efforts to state that final status negotiations should be on the basis of the “1967 borders” or presumed Palestinian statehood,” all conflict with Resolution 242.
In short, Egypt’s stated positions and actions are in direct contradiction and violation of the signed peace treaty, including the one which Morsi is claiming Israel is not fulfilling.
In addition, the 1978 agreement does not discuss or require an Israel withdrawal from Judea and Samaria or Gaza. Instead it only discusses setting up a “self-governing authority,” “autonomy,” and “self-government” for the Palestinians in those areas – for a five-year period. It does not discuss or require the establishment of a Palestinian state nor does it require that the Palestinians shall continue to have autonomy at the end of the five-year period.
Like the Oslo Accords, it confirms that Israel will retain a military presence in “specified security locations” in the disputed territories, and recognizes that, “All necessary measures will be taken and provisions made to assure the security of Israel.”