A former adviser to Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi accused Israel’s former ambassador to Cairo of inciting against him, following a critical op-ed published in an Egyptian daily last week.
Mohammed Esmat Seif al-Dawla, an outspoken critic of Egypt’s Camp David peace accords with Israel, claimed in an interview Sunday with independent Egyptian daily al-Masry al-Youm that former Israeli ambassador Zvi Mazel incited against him in an email responding to an op-ed published by Dawla in the daily last week.
The article, titled “Camp David and Egypt’s wounded sovereignty in Sinai,” criticized the security clause of the Camp David Accords barring any Egyptian military presence within a 150-kilometer (93-mile) strip along the eastern Sinai Peninsula. It further claimed that the security restrictions imposed by the peace accords prevented economic development of the impoverished and marginalized peninsula.
Mazel, who served as Israel’s ambassador to Cairo between 1996 and 2001, posted a comment to the article on the daily’s website, and also sent it to Dawla’s email. Mazel wrote that the article “harmed relations between Israel and Egypt,” adding that he considered it “incitement of the Egyptian people against Israel.”
The former Egyptian adviser — he served under Morsi until December 2012 — claimed Mazel’s last sentence was a tacit threat against him.
“It is as though [Mazel] was saying that I am violating the third clause of the Egyptian-Israeli peace agreement, where there is a paragraph stating that it is prohibited for either side to incite against the other,” said Dawla. “This is an implicit message he tried to convey without saying it explicitly, but it is very clear.”
Mazel said those accusations were ludicrous.
“Who’s threatening him?” wondered the former ambassador in a phone conversation with The Times of Israel. “I was just responding to the nonsense he wrote.”
Mazel said that Egypt’s decades-long neglect of the Sinai had nothing to do with military restrictions imposed on it by Camp David.
“They didn’t invest in Sinai simply because they didn’t want to,” he said. “Now they’re rethinking this policy after Sinai has become a base for terrorists.”
Mazel, who retired from the foreign service eight years ago and is now a fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, said he periodically comments on articles he encounters in the Arab media, which often contain “terrible incitement” against Israel.
Asked whether he responded to Mazel’s email, Dawla answered in the negative.
“Of course not. That would be impossible, since it would fall under the category of normalization [of ties with Israel], which I reject. In addition, I do not acknowledge the legitimacy of this illegal, usurper entity.”