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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Egyptian politicians call for the changes in Camp David peace treaty

Sinai, Egyptian-Israeli border
Egyptian political figures and groups condemn the violent Sunday border attack that left 17 Egyptian soldiers dead and at least 7 wounded. The reactions are very different and range from sorrow to anger and strong criticism. There are also numerous conspiracy theories circulating in the society and among the political forces too. Muslim Brotherhood, for example, blamed Israel for the deadly attack. But such emotional reactions aren’t appropriate under such circumstances, and all the accusations may be stressed only after the official results of the investigations.

But almost all the political figures and forces call for the necessity of changes in the Camp David peace treaty signed between Egypt and Israel in 1979. They demand Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy to push for the negotiations for the amendments in the peace deal in attempt to allow Egyptian side to deal with the security in Sinai region.

1979 Camp David peace treaty imposes some restrictions on Egyptian side and prohibits Egypt to deploy its armed forces and heavy weapons in the eastern and central zones of Sinai Peninsula. Following the current situation it causes the security vacuum in Sinai and prevents Egypt from the full control of this territory.

Sinai desert is connected with Gaza with the network of underground tunnels, which are usually used for smuggling and illegal migration, but last time they are also used for the weapons smuggling and preparing the terrorist attacks by different militant groups which emerged in bigger numbers after the fall of Hosni Mubarak and the following lack of security in the region. After Sunday’s bloody attack Hussein Tantawy, Head of SCAF and Egypt’s Minister of Defense, ordered all those underground tunnels to be destroyed.

IDF forces and the crushed military vehicle stolen by the militants who attacked Egyptian border checkpoint
After the ouster of Egypt’s former President Hosni Mubarak the situation in Sinai worsened significantly, with the numerous attacks on the gas pipeline providing Israel and Jordan with gas and Bedouins raids till the terror attacks on the territories along the Egyptian-Israeli border. Last year’s August attack on the border near Israeli city of Eilat and the following raid against the militants who came from Gaza through the Sinai desert using the underground tunnels caused the death of five Egyptian soldiers in the cross fire. Israeli side claimed they were killed mistakenly, and Egypt didn’t receive any apologize. That provoked one of the deepest crises in Egyptian-Israeli relationships since the time of signing the peace treaty. Angry Egyptians stormed Israeli embassy in Cairo and demanded the expulsion of Israeli Ambassador and even for cancelling the peace agreements with the Jewish state. It was a decisive moment when the calls for the changes in Camp David were revived in attempt to allow Egypt to more freely deploy the military troops in this area for maintaining the control.

A picture of the burning vehicle at
Kerem Shalom border checkpoint, released by IDF
There were a few other clashes along the Egyptian-Israeli border this year too, but Sunday’s terrible attack was one of the deadliest for Egyptian armed forces since long times. The investigations are ongoing, and the necessity of negotiation with Israel over changing some terms of the peace treaty is very clear. The representatives of different political powers and the prominent political figures stressed that the amendments to the peace accords are needed to give Egypt the possibility to seize the full control of the area. 

Al-Ahram reports about the reactions and statements of Egyptian political figures and groups over the current situation: Here is the story .

Egypt and Israel need now to cooperate and to work together in attempt to restore the peace and security in the region and prevent another possible terrorist attacks, but in this case the terms of Camp David have to be reconsidered as the current ones prevent Egypt from the possibility to control the region and take serious actions for maintaining the security.