Egyptian PM: Peace deal with Israel not sacred

Sharaf says Camp David agreement "is always open to discussion with what would benefit the region and the case of fair peace."

September 15, 2011 21:52
3 minute read.
Egyptian PM Essam Sharaf

Egyptian PM Essam Sharaf_311. (photo credit: Reuters)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


CAIRO - Egypt's Prime Minister Essam Sharaf said a peace deal with Israel was not "sacred" and could be changed for the benefit of peace or the region.

His comments, made in an interview with a Turkish television channel and broadcast on state television, were the strongest yet by the new government which took over after president Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in February.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

Cairo envoy: Swift re-opening of embassy important
Our World: Lessons from the embassy takeover

"The Camp David agreement is not a sacred thing and is always open to discussion with what would benefit the region and the case of fair peace ... and we could make a change if needed," he said in the interview.

Politics professor Mustapha al-Sayyid said Sharaf's comments appeared to be aimed more at boosting Egyptian security on the border with Israel, which under the 1979 treaty is subject to limitations, rather than abrogating it altogether.

"It has been well demonstrated that the size of Egyptian forces in this area is not sufficient to meet threats to security. The number of troops should be increased and equipment improved," he said.

"I don't think any Egyptian political forces are calling for abrogation of the treaty or even ending diplomatic relations."


Tensions between Egypt and Israel, which have been rising since Mubarak was overthrown, flared after a cross-border attack last month.

Cairo accused Israeli forces of shooting dead five Egyptian security guards during gun battles with Palestinian militants who Israel says had earlier ambushed and killed eight Israelis.

Egyptian protesters stormed the Israeli embassy last Friday in anger at Israel for the border killings.

Asked about Sharaf's comments, an Israeli spokesman said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had recently voiced his commitment to the treaty on at least two occasions.

"In both places he stressed the importance of maintaining the peace treaty with Egypt, and that the peace treaty is an anchor for regional stability," spokesman Mark Regev said.

The army-backed government that Sharaf leads has struggled to contain public anger towards Israel after the border killings.

Egypt threatened to withdraw its ambassador but did not, infuriating many Egyptians who wanted a tougher response. Israeli flew its ambassador out after the Israeli embassy was stormed.

Both countries have said they want to return to normal diplomatic activities. Egypt has vowed to protect the embassy, a move demanded by Israel and the United States.

Many Egyptians have said Cairo should have taken a more assertive line like Turkey, which expelled the Israeli ambassador after Israel refused to apologize for the death of nine Turks in an Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan visited Egypt this week and received a rapturous welcome from the public.

An Egyptian security official said last month that Egypt and Israel agreed to increase the number of Egyptian troops along the border in the Sinai peninsula.

Egypt has received billions of dollars of US military and other aid since 1979 and has to balance public calls for a tougher line against Israel with a need to keep on good terms with the United States.

"I think what is happening is that both Egypt and Israel are committed to regional peace. They are anxious to move past the incidents of the past weekend and restore the relationship," US Ambassador to Cairo Anne Patterson told a business forum on Thursday.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Nassib border crossing
October 15, 2018
Jordan and Syria reopen Nassib border crossing