Egyptians Call for Capital in JerusalemJun 12, 2012 at 03:19:25 AM
Israel gave up a lot when it signed the 1979 Camp David accords with Egypt: oil fields, a cutting-edge air force base, and a huge security buffer against its southern neighbor.
Israel did get something in return: A solemn promise by the Egyptian government to end its state of belligerence against Israel. This promise was backed up by the United States, and has held – albeit coldly – for three decades.
Now, with the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, this all threatens to fall apart. A new survey by the Pew Global Attitudes Project shows that 61 percent of Egyptians favor abandoning the Egypt-Israel peace treaty (up from 54 percent a year ago).
Egypt is now in the midst of presidential elections and the radical Muslim Brotherhood has emerged as the dominant political force. One leading candidate and former Muslim Brotherhood leader, Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, declared: "I do not and will not recognize Israel." In a presidential debate last month, he said that the peace agreement with Israel was a threat to national security and vowed to amend the Camp David Accords: "Israel is an enemy... The majority of Egyptians are enemies of Israel. The agreement with Israel should be revised and the sections which are against our interests should be removed immediately."
This is not an exclusively "Israel problem." The Pew poll also finds that 61 percent of Egyptians believe that the billions of dollars of U.S. aid to Egypt has a "mostly negative" impact. Among the candidates, Aboul Fotouh denounced the assassination of Osama Bin Laden by U.S. forces as an act of "state terrorism."
Next week, the two top candidates will face a run-off vote in the presidential election. One of the contenders, Mohamed Morsy, is chairman of a political party founded by the Muslim Brotherhood after the 2011 Egyptian revolution. At the launch of Morsy's candidacy last month, Egyptian Cleric Safwat Higazi declared before a huge crowd that Morsy will "liberate Jerusalem" as the new capital of the "United States of the Arabs."
"Our capital shall not be Cairo… it shall be Jerusalem," Higazi declared. "Our cry shall be: Millions of martyrs march toward Jerusalem." (See video below.)
The world had hoped that the Arab Spring would usher in a new era of calm and civility in the Middle East. Yet Syria is still slaughtering its citizens, Iran is still hurtling toward the Bomb, and if the Egyptian election itself is any indication, we're in for some very stormy weather.