The leading candidate in Egypt’s presidential race said on Sunday that the Camp David Accords should be consigned to the shelves of history, describing the agreement as "dead and buried."
At a mass rally in southern Egypt, Amr Moussa, who is currently ahead in Egypt’s race for president, spoke of the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt, saying that "the Camp David Accords are a historical document whose place is on the shelves of history, as its articles talk about the fact that the aim of the agreement is to establish an independent Palestinian state."
Moussa went on to say that there is "no such thing" as the Camp David agreement.
"This agreement is dead and buried. There is an agreement between Israel and Egypt that we will honor as long as Israel honors it. The Jewish document that defines relations between Israel and the Arabs is an Arab initiative from 2002 whose advancement should be bilateral: step for step, progress for progress."
Moussa, who served for ten years as foreign minister under former president Hosni Mubarak (and left his post over disagreements with the former leader), differentitaties between the Camp David Accords, which include the Palestinian articles, and the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. The Egyptian public does not necessarily make the same differentiation, however. The Camp David Accords are seen as one whole, and all public discussions of them are seen as a test of the foreign policy that is expected of Egypt’s presidential candidates, and mainly code according to which U.S. policy towards each one of the candidates will be decided.
In a visit to the west of Egypt two weeks ago, Moussa described the agreement as "ink on paper whose period of authority is over," without differentiating between the articles that deal with the Palestinians, and those that deal with peace with Israel. Although Moussa is leaning on the support of some of the secular parties and activist groups that were the backbone of the January revolution, it is actually Islamist leaders that are talking about their commitment to the Camp David Accords.
The head of Salafi Al-Nour party, for example, said in December last year that his movement is not opposed to the Camp David Accords, and that it is ready to negotiate with Israel. Representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood movement, including Khairat Al-Shater, who until recently was their candidate for president, also emphasized their commitment to the Camp David Accords, and have passed on this sentiment to the U.S. administration.
Moussa, despite this, has followed a tough line on Israel for years. He designed Egypt’s foreign policy regarding Israel’s nuclear capabilities, a policy that calls for nuclear disarmament in the region, and he is particularly proud of his part in putting the Palestinian problem on the international list of priorities during his time as foreign minister.
Despite these views, 76-year-old Moussa says that – if elected – he will only serve one term as Egyptian president, a criticism that has come from those who are meant to be his supporters. One member of the Al Wafd party, for example, said that Moussa is the number one choice of the U.S., and that "even Israel does not express its worry that over his election. He announced his intention to stand for election as Egypt’s president from the house of the Saudi ambassador in Egypt, and no one knows are his sources of funding."
Jalal Amin, Professor of Economics at the American University in Cairo and a prominent leftist thinker, said that "Moussa is a remnant of Mubarak’s regime… How else can a man who served for ten years as foreign minister – a third of which was under Mubarak – be silent about what is happening in the country? What can of person is this?"
Is seems that in light of such criticism – and in an attempt to distance himself from the policies of the previous regime – Moussa is now embracing a critical stance toward the peace accords with Israel.