Egypt’s leading presidential candidate, former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, told Arab media this week that if elected, he was prepared to alter his nation’s long-standing peace treaty with neighboring Israel.
“If we are asked to make amendments to the peace treaty with Israel, we will do it,” Sisi said in an interview with Sky News Arabia. He did not elaborate on who would be requesting such amendments, or what, exactly, they could entail.
In the same interview, Sisi said he believed there was a “real chance” for the entire Arab world to make peace with Israel, which the former Egyptian army chief insisted “can exist naturally in the region, if it accepts the Arab Peace Initiative.”
The peace initiative Sisi referred to is the proposal authored and presented in 2002 by Saudi Arabia. It calls for all Arab states to offer the Jewish state comprehensive peace agreements in exchange for Israel’s full withdrawal from all territory captured in 1967, including the eastern half of Jerusalem.
Israel previously lodged objections to the proposal, noting that it failed to adequately deal with the demand to flood the Jewish state with so-called “Palestinian refugee.” The initiative, many have argued, would also return Israel to a position from which it faced serious existential threats in the first 19 years after its modern rebirth.
In an earlier interview, Sisi cautioned that if progress toward peace along lines of the Arab Peace Initiative was not made soon, he could take a more hostile approach toward Israel after becoming president.
Sisi is expected to easily win the upcoming presidential election scheduled for May 26–27.