Cairo: The Egyptian people want Israel out – or honourable

Article – Julie Webb-Pullman

The hasty and undignified departure of Israeli embassy staff from Cairo following popular protests on Friday underscores the highly-tenuous state of Israeli-Egyptian relations, as well as the strength and determination of Egyptian people-power.

Cairo: The Egyptian people want Israel out – or honourable

by Julie Webb-Pullman

The hasty and undignified departure of Israeli embassy staff from Cairo following popular protests on Friday underscores the highly-tenuous state of Israeli-Egyptian relations, as well as the strength and determination of Egyptian people-power.

Since the overthrow of Israeli-US stalwart Mubarak, there have been increasing demands in the country to revise Israeli-Egyptian relations, based on the perception that Israel has never honoured the 1978 Camp David accords which govern them.

Failure to honour Camp David Accords

The preamble for these Accords states that the agreed basis for a peaceful settlement of the conflict between Israel and its neighbours is United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, in all its parts. The Framework further states that basis of the peace treaties is “Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 in all their parts.

These Security Council resolutions require Israel to withdraw from all territories it occupied during the 1967 invasions, and that Israel respect and acknowledge “the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.”

Egyptians, and the rest of the world, are only too well well aware that Israel has not only failed to withdraw to pre-1967 borders, as decided by the Security Council, but has continued expanding its settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories through the forced eviction of Palestinians from their homes and lands, and, as Richard Falk wrote in Al Jazeera only days ago, “subjected the people of Gaza to sustained and extreme forms of collective punishment… attacked Lebanese villages and Beirut neighbourhoods mercilessly in 2006, launched a massive campaign against a defenceless Gaza at the end of 2008, and then shocked world opinion with its violence against the Mavi Marmara during its nighttime attack in 2010.”

These flagrant breaches of the basis of The Camp David Accords render them null and void in the eyes of many Egyptians. The killing by Israeli Defence Forces of five members of the Egyptian security forces last month, which, like the Mavi Marmara deaths, Israel refuses to apologise for, have further inflamed anti-Israeli sentiment.

Turkish Delight

The news of Turkey’s expulsion of Israeli diplomats, their cutting of military ties, and the stepping up a Turkish naval presence in the Mediterranean was greeted throughout the Arab world, but especially in Gaza, with great delight. This popular ouster of Israeli diplomats from Cairo can only increase it.

The Turkish actions showed the world that a government, not merely civil society, could take a principled stand based on, and in accordance with, international law. It showed also a country with the political will and courage to take concrete measures to hold Israel accountable for its violations.

Some of the Egyptian people, impatient with their own authorities lack of action, have taken matters into their own hands, sending a very loud and a very clear message – to Tel Aviv, to the rest of the Arab world, to the entire international community – and especially to the United Nations.

The days of Israel flouting international law with impunity are over. If Israel wishes to live in peace and security in the ‘new’ environment, its policies and practice towards its neighbours must change. The basis, however, must remain the same – United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 in all their parts.

The latest lesson from Cairo is clear – if governments won’t act to enforce international law and the treaties based upon them, the people will, at whatever cost.

Is Israel, the international community, but especially the fledgling Egypt, willling to pay it?

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Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz
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