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August 27, 2016 / 23 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘treaty’

Broken Gas Deal Reflects Tentative Future of Peace Treaty

Friday, April 27th, 2012

According to a recent Reuters report, the Egyptian decision to halt its already erratic natural gas supply to Israel was not, as the Egyptian government had put it, due only to financial disagreements. The report cites shareholders in East Mediterranean Gas Co (EMG) who stated: “Any attempts to characterize this dispute as a mere commercial one is misleading. This is a government-backed contract sealed by a memorandum of understanding between Egypt and Israel that specifically refers to the (1979) peace treaty.”

The international shareholders further accused the Egyptian oil and gas companies of failure to protect the pipeline from attack, failure to repair it promptly and the grim fact that they have “delivered almost no gas to EMG since February 2011.”

The Egyptian oil and gas companies have incurred substantial penalties due to their failure to supply the gas, according the shareholders.

Egypt Natural Gas Co is a also a shareholder in EMG.

(Meanwhile, according to Ha’aretz, the Israel Electric Corporation is hectically searching for a new source of natural gas. The IEC has issued an international tender looking to import liquefied natural gas, expecting to pick up some $800 million worth by December 1, 2012.)

Al Ahram agrees that “despite both sides claiming this was just a business deal gone sour, against the backdrop of growing discontent and following the exchange of heated statements, it has become apparent that the actions of the neighboring states are political.”

Al Ahram goes on to cite a 2010 Egyptian Supreme Administrative Court decision overruling a 2008 Administrative Court decision in favor of terminating the natural gas deal. The argument for the overruling was that the lower court did not have the authority to infringe on the government’s sovereignty.

In other words, the deal is officially not purely economical, and the decision to continue or stop the deal is considered by officials to be a political issue, linked to Egyptian national security.

But Al Ahram goes on to argue that the broken gas deal has not been the only source of tension between the two countries this week.

On April 21, South Sinai Governor Khaled Fouda accused Israel of trying to harm tourism in the Sinai. He was critical of a call by Israel’s anti-terrorism unit on Saturday, urging Israelis who were on holiday in the Sinai peninsula to leave immediately, for fear of kidnapping attempts and terrorism.

Governor Fouda refuted Israel’s claims, saying they were nothing more than rumors. The obviously frustrated Fouda said Israel does this whenever Egypt’s tourism industry sees an improvement. In his opinion, as soon as occupancy rates at Sharm El-Sheikh hotels reached 65 per cent, Israel released its “irresponsible statement.”

But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refuted those accusations when he said on Tuesday that Egypt’s Sinai peninsula had become a “kind of Wild West” overrun by militants, terrorists and arms smugglers. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman even suggested Israel should post more troops along the border with Egypt.

Egypt’s military ruler, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, was not happy. “Our borders, especially the northeast ones, are inflamed,” he admitted, but then added an angry warning: “We will break the legs of anyone trying to attack us or who come near the borders.”

Even if Israel were to discount much of that belligerent statement as intended for internal consumption, the sentiment is nevertheless authentic. Sad as it may sound, despite all the hope to the contrary, the Camp David peace treaty has not matured over the past 30+ years to the point where the occasional disagreement could not threaten its very existence. We may be looking these days at the beginning of the end of that treaty.

But those seeking positive signs for the future of the Israeli-Egyptian peace can point to the report this week about the Egyptian army preventing prevented a local group of Bedouins from defacing an IDF memorial in the northern Sinai Peninsula. According to Israel’s Army Radio, the Egyptian military deployed armored vehicles near the memorial, to prevent the Bedouins from reaching it.

Stay tuned…

Yori Yanover

Egyptian Cancellation of Gas Supply Threatens Treaty with Israel

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Egypt’s sudden cancellation of its natural gas treaty with Israel is a flagrant violation of the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty, according to Israeli officials.

Egypt claims that Israel is in “violation of contractual agreements” of the 2005 Egypt-Israel gas deal, a pact decried by leaders of the Arab Spring uprising in Egypt.

Since the beginning of the uprising on January 25, 2011, the pipelines supplying gas to Israel have been sabotaged 14 times.

Israel called the Egyptian decision “unlawful and in bad faith”, and a failure to meet obligations. Egypt, said Israel is four months in arrears on payment, a charge Israel denies.

Malkah Fleisher

Over 70% of Egyptians Oppose US Aid

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

According to a recent Gallup poll surveying attitudes of Egyptians in December 2011,  71% oppose US economic aid to Egypt, and 74% oppose the US sending direct aid to civil society groups in Egypt, underscoring populist suspicion of Western intentions.

Egyptians are far more receptive to aid from Arab governments, with 68% of respondents in favor.

The US is slated to provide $1.3 billion in military aid and $250 million in economic aid for the current fiscal year. But the fact that the aid is conditioned on Egypt’s compliance with its peace treaty with Israel is unpopular in Egypt, and may present a quandary for Egypt’s new leaders as they try to rectify Egypt’s financial predicament.

 

Jewish Press Staff

Muslim Brotherhood Reiterates Refusal to Conduct Dialogue with Israel

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Mahmoud Ghazlan, spokesman for Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, said in an interview with Arabic newspaper Asharq Alawsat Wednesday that the group “is not prepared to conduct dialogue with Israel.”

“It is illogical to open dialogue, any dialogue, given the current Israeli policies against the Arab peoples,” Ghazlan said. “We will reject any request from the Israeli embassy to meet with leaders of the group.”

He added that the group’s “position is consistent and clear, and is not up for discussion.”

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said on Tuesday that Israel “would be happy to conduct dialogue with anyone prepared to talk with us.”

Earlier this month, the deputy leader of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), Rashad Bayoumi, was quoted as saying said “[t]he Brotherhood respects international conventions, but we will take legal action against the peace treaty with the Zionist entity.”

FJP scored well in recent Egyptian parliamentary elections, winning 47% of the seats.  Its officials have proposed to put the Israel-Egypt peace treaty to a popular referendum.

Jewish Press Staff

Leading Egyptian Presidential Candidate: Peace Treaty Will Remain ‘in place’

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Former Arab League Secretary-General and Current Egyptian presidential hopeful, Amr Moussa, said in an interview with the Arabic Daily Asharq Al-Awsat that he did “not think there are any circumstances that will lead to [the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty’s] cancellation.”

He added: “I do not think this will happen, and I do not think it would be wise for this treaty to be cancelled. The treaty will continue so long as each party respects it.”

Jewish Press Staff

Egyptian Islamists win first round

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

With the first of three rounds of parliamentary elections completed in Egypt, it’s estimated that Islamic fundamentalists have won some 65% of the vote.

The Muslem Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party won approximately 40% of the vote, while the Salafis Party, an even more extremist Islamic party came in second with 25% of the vote.

While the Muslim Brotherhood have only talked about modifying parts of the Israel-Egypt peace treaty of 1979, the Salfis have talked about opening up the entire treaty to a national referendum.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Israel And Palestine: Critical Intersections of Law and Strategy (Part I)

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011
            Oddly enough, even Shimon Peres, the unrelenting Israeli champion of a “two state solution” in the Middle East, initially identified Palestinian statehood as an existential threat to Israel. In his book, Tomorrow is Now(1978), Peres had warned: “The establishment of such a state means the inflow of combat-ready Palestinian forces into Judea and Samaria (West Bank); this force, together with the local youth, will double itself in a short time. It will not be short of weapons or other military equipment, and in a short space of time, an infrastructure for waging war will be set up in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip . In time of war, the frontiers of the Palestinian state will constitute an excellent staging point for mobile forces to mount attacks on infrastructure installations vital for Israel’s existence .”
            Today, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however reluctantly, is likely willing to go along with creating a Palestinian state, so long as its prospective leaders first agree to some apt form of demilitarization.
            Ironically, especially in view of their current ideological positions, Netanyahu should take heed of Peres’ earlier warning, and begin to recognize the impending and very dangerous intersections of international law and national strategy. For Israel, certain legal mistakes and misunderstandings could quickly give rise to irreversible strategic harms. Significantly, the underlying conceptual issues here are longstanding and generic and are not necessarily limited only to Israel.
            From the formal beginnings of the state system in 1648, following the Peace of Westphalia, states have negotiated treaties to provide security. To the extent that they are executed in good faith, these agreements are always fashioned and tested according to pertinent international law. Often, of course, disputes arise whenever particular signatories determine that continued compliance is no longer in their own particular national interest.
           
            For Israel, its 1979 peace treaty with Egypt remains very important. As we see though, further regime change in Cairo can spell the sudden abrogation of this agreement. The same risks apply to the extant military governing council, should its leaders decide, for whatever reason, that the treaty with Israel should now be terminated.
            To be sure, any post-Mubarak regime that would extend some governing authority to the Muslim Brotherhood, or to its proxies, could result in a prompt Egyptian abrogation. Although any such willful cessation of treaty obligations by the Egyptian side would almost certainly be in violation of The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, the governing “treaty on treaties,” there is also very little that either Israel or the international community would be able to do in response. In preserving strategic stability, international law may always have distinctly far-ranging weaknesses and determinative flaws.
            For Israel, prospective treaty compliance issues with Egypt ought to bring to mind the multiple and (still unrecognized) corollary dangers of Palestinian statehood. In June 2009, Prime Minister Netanyahu first officially agreed to the creation of a Palestinian state.  But, as already indicated, and with an apparent nod to prudence, he had conditioned this acceptance upon Palestinian demilitarization. More precisely, said the prime minister: “In any peace agreement, the territory under Palestinian control must be disarmed, with solid security guarantees for Israel.”
            This agreement seemingly represented a smart concession, but only if there can ever be some reasonable expectations of corollary Palestinian compliance. In fact, however, any such expectations are implausible. This is the case not only because all treaties and treaty-like agreements can be broken, but also because, in this specific case, any post-independence Palestinian insistence upon militarization would likely be lawful.
             Neither Hamas nor Fatah, now forged together in a new unity pact, would ever negotiate for anything less than full sovereignty.
            International lawyers seeking to discover any Palestine-friendly sources of legal confirmation could conveniently cherry-pick pertinent provisions of the 1934 Convention on the Rights and Duties of States, the treaty on statehood, sometimes called the Montevideo Convention. They could apply the very same strategy of selection to the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.
             International law is not a suicide pact. Indisputably, Israel has a peremptory right to remain “alive.” It was entirely proper for Mr. Netanyahu to have previously opposed a Palestinian state in any form. After all, both Fatahand Hamasstill see all of Israel as part of Palestine. This past July, Palestinian Authority television rebroadcast songs with lyrics that depicted all of Israel as part of “my country Palestine.” Some of the specific Israeli cities included in these songs are Jaffa, Safed, Tiberias, Acre, Nazareth, Beit Shean, Ramie, and Haifa. Of course, all of the official PA maps of Palestine similarly continue to include all of Israel.

            In the strict Islamic view, not merely in the more narrowly Jihadior Islamist perspectives, Israel must always be seen as the individual Jew in macrocosm. The Jewish state, therefore, must be despised precisely on account of this relationship, because of the allegedly innate evil of each individual Jew. This grotesque prejudice is a very far cry from the widely fashionable idea that Israel is despised in the region only because it is an occupier.

 

            LOUIS RENÉ BERES (Ph.D. Princeton, 1971) is the author of many books and several hundred scholarly articles dealing with Israel and international law. Chair of Project Daniel (Israel, 2003), he is Strategic and Military Affairs columnist for The Jewish Press.

Louis Rene Beres

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/louis-bene-beres/israel-and-palestine-critical-intersections-of-law-and-strategy-part-i/2011/10/05/

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