Egypt’s leading presidential candidate, former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, said in a weekend television interview that Israel must recognize the “state of Palestine” with Jerusalem as its capital if the Jewish state hopes for warm relations with its neighbors.
While Sisi threatened to never personally visit Israel unless that condition is first met, he did clarify that an Egyptian government headed by himself would honor Egypt’s peace treat with Israel.
As head of the military, Sisi last year gave the needed backing to a popular uprising against the newly elected government of Muslim Brotherhood strongman Mohammed Morsi.
Since then, Sisi has overseen as legal process that has outlawed the Muslim Brotherhood and sentenced to death many of the group’s leading activists. It is widely hoped in Israel that as Egypt further engages the Israeli-Arab peace process, this firm position will extend to Hamas, which is a direct offspring of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Sisi is expected to easily win the upcoming presidential election scheduled for May 26–27.