Photo: AP
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak
Photo: AP

Mubarak praises peace with Israel

In a surprising statement honoring 29th anniversary of peace treaty with Israel, Egyptian president commends Sadat initiative. Former ambassador to Cairo: Peace with Egypt stable

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak praised the peace with Israel this week, on the 29th anniversary of the Egypt-Israel peace treaty. This came as a surprise to many Israeli officials, considering the recent tension between the two countries due to the ongoing smuggling on the Philadelphi route.


In an interview with Mubarak, published by the Polish Warsaw Gazette, he commended former Egyptian President Muhammad Anwar Sadat's groundbreaking move, the signing of the 1979 peace treaty between Israel and Egypt: "I would have made the same decision," he said. Mubarak went on to praise Sadat's vision and his historic visit to Jerusalem.


Though Sadat and his peaceful initiative are not at the height of their popularity among Egyptians these days, it seems Mubarak has only admiring words for the former president's actions, and he is not alone. Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit attacked the recent calls by Arab leaders to withdraw the Arab-Israel peace initiative; calls which Arab League Seceratary General Amr Moussa supported.


Despite these calls, Aboul Gheit insisted that an Arab-Israeli war was out of the question, remarking that in his opinion, firing rockets at Israeli cities would not achieve anything, leaving peace as the only available option.


Aboul Gheit criticized Damascus for declaring that it desires peace without presenting reasonable demands from Israel. Recently Cairo and Damascus have been at odds due to the Arab League convention to be held by the latter, to which Egypt and Saudi Arabia have declared they will send only low-ranking officials.


Peace is stable

Former Israeli Ambassador to Egypt, David Sultan, was not surprised by Mubarak's remarks. "Egypt regards the Israeli peace treaty as a strategic asset, and though the relationship is cold, it is steadfast," he told Ynet. He added that the peace between the two countries is far from perfect, but has proven to be profitable for both sides.


When asked about the Muslim Brotherhood's cries to revoke the peace treaty, Sultan answered, "As long as Israel remains conflicted with various Arab entities, like Lebanon and the Palestinians, there will always be those who support these calls. In my opinion, most chances are that the peace with Egypt will continue to be strong.


"However," he added, "those who think that this peace can stand on its own, regardless of the difficulties with other Arab factions, is wrong. Egyptian popular opinion is greatly affected by the political arena in the Palestinian territories and Lebanon. Therefore Israel must create an atmosphere of progress towards a peace settlement, if it expects to further its relationship with Cairo."


פרסום ראשון: 03.27.08, 12:56
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