Given that the two Islamist parties have won 70 percent of the vote in parliamentary elections, how do you suppose a referendum on the Camp David accords would shake out?
Al-Bayoumi emphasized that the Islamist movement would respect all of the international agreements to which Egypt is signatory, adding, however, that each side had the right to review the peace deal, and that the Egyptian people have yet to speak their mind.
“We weren’t party to the peace treaty, it was signed away from the Egyptian people and thus the people must have its say,” the Muslim Brotherhood official said.
Referring to the issue of recognizing Israel, al-Bayoumi said that the Muslim Brotherhood was not required to recognize Egypt’s neighbor to the north, saying that Israel was an “occupying entity and we will not allow anyone of our members to meet with an Israeli.”
“I won’t allow myself to meet with a criminal and there’s no chance that we’ll cooperate with Israel,” the Egyptian official said.
In case you’re inclined to think this is pandering aimed at outflanking the Salafists among hardcore Islamist voters before the final round of the elections, go back and re-read this Time mag piece dated February 7, 2011. That was four days before Mubarak was finally sent packing — and even then, the Ikhwan was talking about putting the treaty to vote:
On the subject of whether a new Egyptian government should cancel the Camp David Accords, they demurred. “We are not going to cancel any agreement previously made by the government,” says Zakaria. “But if there is a referendum about this or any other agreement, then we obey the people’s will.”
The dirty little not-so-secret about this is that it’s not just the Islamists who are prepared to dump the treaty. Even Ayman Nour, who challenged Mubarak for the presidency on a platform of democracy and human rights and ended up as a political prisoner, told a Lebanese TV network early last year that “the Camp David accords have come to an end.” The U.S. has allegedly been holding secret talks with the Egyptian military on how to preserve the treaty, but if the Brotherhood decided to make an issue of holding a referendum, I don’t know how the army could get away with refusing unless they’re prepared to rule indefinitely in Mubarak fashion themselves. Preventing the referendum or rejecting the results would be dangerous enough for them as a retreat from democracy to autocracy; to do it in the name of preserving relations with Israel would risk whatever popular prestige they have left. The answer in the near term, I take it, will be for the Brotherhood to threaten a referendum but never quite get around to conducting it so long as western aid flows freely and relations between Israel and the Palestinians remain kinda sorta stable. Which of course would be a lot easier to do if they didn’t have to worry about the suddenly popular Salafist party using it against them if/when the next elections are held in a few years.
Speaking of which, in other Egypt news, the Salafists might want to cover the pyramids with wax or something because the idolatry is an affront to Islam. Yeah.