The campaign manager for Egypt’s former army chief, Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, frontrunner in next month’s presidential elections, pledged backing in a TV debate for anyone who fights Israel.
“We support anyone who fights the Zionist enemy, but if these weapons are turned towards Egypt, we will chop off the hands that hold them,” Mahmoud Badr, el-Sissi’s presidential campaign chef, told Lebanon’s Al-Manar TV.
Badr was speaking in a debate earlier this month with Tamer Hindawi, spokesman for rival candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi, who came third in the 2012 election which brought the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi to power.
Hindawi also expressed support for “anyone who points his gun at the Zionist enemy.”
The interviewer noted that Sabbahi, in the 2012 campaign, promised to conduct a referendum over the Camp David peace accords with Israel, and asked Hindawi whether a victorious Sabbahi would annul the accords. “Our enmity with the Zionist enemy goes to our very existence,” the spokesman said. “It’s either us or them. No peace is possible. That’s what we believe. The Zionist enemy is clearly the head of colonialism in the region.
“In our view, the Camp David Accords are responsible for many of our crises, and might even be the main reason for Egypt’s subjugation to America, and for the decline in its role as an Arab, Islamic, and African leader,” Hindawi went on. “If it were up to me, I would abolish the Camp David Accords right now. But if you ask about Sabbahi’s campaign position – Sabbahi believes that the Zionists are our enemy, but when the historic moment arrives, he will decide what action to take.”
Badr was less outspoken on this issue, saying that el-Sissi “will hold extensive discussions about what the Egyptian people gain from these accords.
“If it turns out that we do not need them, I believe that el-Sissi will not hesitate and will put them to a referendum.”
The TV debate took place on April 3, and was translated and posted online Wednesday by MEMRI (the Middle East Media Research Institute).
El-Sissi is expected to win the May 26-27 vote, riding a wave of popularity after deposing Morsi, the country’s first elected and civilian president. Sabbahi is el-Sissi’s sole rival, and is seen by supporters as the only leader representing the aspirations of those who revolted against the dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
AFP contributed to this report.