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This weekend, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made her first visit to Egypt since Mohammad Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood was elected president of Egypt. Despite the fact that her motorcade was pelted with tomatoes and stones and protesters chanted “Monica, Monica,” the Secretary seemed to be willfully blinding herself as to what “Islamism” and the Muslim Brotherhood actually represent.
A clue as to their real intentions, not just for Israel, but for the United States, was that at his very first public appearance addressing throngs of admiring Egyptians, Mohammad Morsi vowed to get the “blind sheik,” Omar Abdul -Rahman, released from prison in the United States.
Remember who this individual is: He is the person who had planned and executed the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993 and, with his followers, was planning to blow up several significant landmarks in the New York City area, including the George Washington bridge, the Holland Tunnel, the Lincoln tunnel, a government building that houses the FBI and the United Nations, all within five minutes.
During the visit with Mohammad Morsi, the Secretary of State announced, “I have come to Cairo to reaffirm the strong support of the United States for the Egyptian people and for your democratic transition.” Also in the speech were vows of a billion dollars in aid for “Egyptian debit relief” (one wonders is that separate from the 1.3 billion dollars we give them in military aid each year?), as well as several additional economic packages. She praised President Morsi for his statement that he would “work with all Egyptains,” and in soft, muted tones, mentioned that he should work with the SCAF, or the Egyptian Generals.
To her benefit, the Secretary of State did mention the continuing value of maintaining the Camp David Peace Treaty with Israel, but, unfortunately, added these very ominously ambiguous words: “And on this foundation, we will work together to build a just, comprehensive, regional peace in the Middle East based on two states for two people with peace, security, and dignity for all.”
This leaves open the possibility of the Camp David Accords being misinterpreted as being contingent on a final deal between Israel Palestinian Authority. Is it any surprise, then, that Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr, at the same press conference, added the following:
I would like to add something about the peace treaty. Mr. President has repeatedly reaffirmed, and on all occasions, that Egypt continues to respect all treaties signed as long as the other party to the treaty respects the treaty itself. And today, he once again reiterated this issue and also reiterated that Egypt’s understanding of peace is that it should be comprehensive, exactly as stipulated in the treaty itself. And this also includes the Palestinians, of course, and its right to – their right have their own state on the land that was – the pre June 4th, 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital.
Of course, the Secretary of State just sat there and let him say this. This is a very ominous signal and flies in the face of history in terms of how the United States has treated the territories that had been captured in Israel’s defensive war of 1967.
1.) It ignores the entire meaning of United Nations Resolutions 242 which clearly establishes Israel’s rights for “secure and recognized boundaries.” Hitherto, Israel has always been intentionally given tremendous flexibility by the United States as to how much territory it is obligated to withdraw from in order to establish these “secure and recognized boundaries,” or what President Ronald Reagan had called “defensible borders.”
In fact, in the immediate aftermath of the 1967 war, President Johnson had said that “an immediate return to the situation as it was on June 4 before the outbreak of hostilities” was not “a prescription for peace, but for renewed hostilities.” He stated that the “old truce lines” had been “fragile and violated.” What, in Johnson’s view was required were “recognized boundaries” that would provide security against, terror, destruction and war.”
This, up until now, had been the view of every successive American administration and characterizes a radical departure.
2.) The fact is that we have always assumed that international peace treaties, such as the one brokered between Egypt and Israel, do not involve outside parties, such as the Palestinian Authority. As the Obama administration always stresses, “that should be left up to the parties themselves.”
Having a continuation of the 33-year-old treaty becoming contingent upon a resolution of the Palestinian conflict (with a return to the pre-1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital), both sets up the Palestinians for failure and threatens to undermine the 33-year-old peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.
For one, the Palestinians have refused to sit down and negotiate with Israel. And even if they were to, one can well understand how, with over ten thousand rockets flying into southern Israel as a result of the Gaza withdrawal, the Israelis remain quite reluctant to withdraw from Judea and Samaria, or the “West Bank,” if you will. Such a withdrawal would bring virtually every Israeli city within target range of Kassam missile attack. It would also put Ben Gurion Airport within easy striking distance from the Palestinian city of Qalkiya. Can you imagine what just one Kassam missile would do to the nation of Israel if it shot at a plane about to descend upon the Israeli airport. All air traffic would be shot down, and the nation of Israel would remain cut off from the rest of the world.
If every treaty were contingent upon regional peace and stability, would the Obama administration pre-condition peace with the Palestinians upon peace with Syria?
In her haste to please the new “democratically elected” leader of Egypt (as we at EMET have so often argued: “one election, does not a democracy make”), the Secretary of State remained uncharacteristically mute.
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