Egyptian president’s adviser describes Israel as ‘occupied Arab Palestine’

‘This will remain its name till the end of time,’ aide says regarding Cairo’s future relations with Israel

Elhanan Miller is the former Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

Illustrative: An Israeli tank patrols the Israel-Egypt border (Tsafrir Abayov/FLASH90)
Illustrative: An Israeli tank patrols the Israel-Egypt border (Tsafrir Abayov/FLASH90)

An adviser to Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi on Sunday said “removing the constraints of the Camp David [Peace] Accords” with Israel is a top national priority, and referred to Israel as “occupied Arab Palestine.”

In an interview with Egyptian daily Al-Youm A-Sabi’, Mohammed Saif Al-Dawla, an Arab nationalist and Morsi’s adviser for Arab affairs, said that the Mubarak regime provided Israel with “free services” which will not continue under the new regime.

“There is land on Egypt’s eastern border called occupied Arab Palestine,” said Saif Al-Dawla in response to a question on Egypt’s future relations with Israel. “This will remain its name till the end of time, and this is a national principle as well as a historic truth.”

Saif Al-Dawla said that in the Camp David peace accords signed with Israel in 1979, Israel’s national security was given precedence over Egypt’s; noting that 150 kilometers of Sinai territory must remain clear of Egyptian military forces under the terms of the treaty, whereas Israel is only obligated to a 3-kilometer demilitarized strip. He added that the Camp David peace accords implicitly overpower the joint Arab defense treaty.

A spokesman for Morsi, Yasser Ali, denied last Wednesday that Saif Al-Dawla’s support for amending the peace accords with Israel represented government policy.

“There is currently no reason to amend the Camp David agreement. Egypt has all it needs to impose its control over Sinai,” Ali told Egypt’s official Middle East News Agency, adding that Saif A-Dawla’s stance on the issue was his own and was not shared by Morsi.

On Sunday, Israel’s Housing and Construction Minister Ariel Attias responded to Saif Al-Dawla’s remarks by noting that Morsi had publicly defended the peace accords on more than one occasion. Attias added, in an interview with Israel Radio, that statements by Morsi’s adviser should thus be of little concern to Israel.


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