Thursday, June 2, 2011

Popular Opposition Mounts to Camp David Deal

By Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani

"CAIRO, Jun 1, 2011 (IPS) - Throughout ousted president Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule, the 1979 Camp David agreement served to keep the peace between historical foes Egypt and Israel. But since Mubarak's February departure, popular calls for the treaty's abrogation have grown louder.

"Egypt's march towards liberation that began with the Jan. 25 Revolution will not be complete until this dishonourable agreement is scrapped," Mohamed Mahmoud, founding member of the Cairo-based Arab/Islamic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (A/IFLP) told IPS.....

Since Mubarak's removal, Egypt has seen a number of demonstrations in front of Israel's embassy in Cairo and consulate in Alexandria. Protesters have demanded that the country's new rulers cut diplomatic relations with Tel Aviv, reopen Egypt's border with the besieged Gaza Strip, and - most contentiously - withdraw from Camp David.

On May 15, thousands of demonstrators amassed outside the Israeli embassy, eventually clashing with police in scenes reminiscent of the 18-day Tahrir Uprising. Hundreds suffered excessive teargas inhalation (two of them reportedly died as a consequence), while more than 350 were arrested and hauled before military courts (most have since been conditionally released).

Only two days earlier, as part of a planned "Third Intifadah", hundreds of thousands of Egyptians had gathered in Cairo's Tahir Square in a show of solidarity with their Palestinian brethren. Members of the A/IFLP - formed by a handful of activists after Egypt's revolution - used the occasion to collect signatures for a petition calling for the abrogation of Camp David......

"Even before Mubarak's departure, the idea of modifying the treaty in Egypt's favour was often discussed," Tarek Fahmi, director of the Israeli desk at the Cairo-based National Centre for Middle East Studies told IPS. "But these discussions never reached the implementation phase."

According to Mahmoud, Camp David represented "a central pillar of the former regime," which, despite Mubarak's overthrow, "nevertheless still remains intact."

"We're calling for the treaty's annulment because it restricts Egyptian military deployment on its own sovereign territory, thus limiting its ability to defend itself," he said. "What's more, Camp David forces Egypt to recognise Israel, thereby legitimising the latter's flagrant rape of Palestinian land."....

Egypt's powerful Muslim Brotherhood movement, which many believe could play a major role in Egypt's post-election government, has formally stated its commitment to respect "all international treaties" to which Egypt is signatory - including Camp David.[Hypocrites, BIG TIME!]...."

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