Egypt unlikely to renounce Israel peace treaty, says Finkelstein

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CAIRO: American political science professor Norman Finkelstein said in a speech given at the American University in Cairo (AUC) that Egypt is unlikely to renounce the Camp David peace treaty with Israel, describing a joint Arab offensive against Israel as "suicidal."

"Israel knows that Egypt would never renounce the peace treaty, this is not Israel’s main fear after the January 25 Revolution," said Finkelstein.

"Israel’s main fear is that the Egyptian people will restore their dignity, Israel is afraid that Egypt will claim her place under the sun, and will modernize to become a power like Turkey and Iran," he added.

Known for his pro-Palestinian stances, Finkelstein’s research work depends on studying, evaluating and criticizing other researches to provide a fair account of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

In his speech, Finkelstein presented an overview of Israeli military offensive on Gaza in 2008 and 2009 and on the Turkish Freedom Flotilla in 2010, in addition to the effects of the January 25 Revolution on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Finkelstein added that Israelis are very open about expressing their fears in newspapers and scholarships, because they simply know that "Arabs do not read."

"If I can pick one Egyptian presidential candidate that Israel fears, he would be Mohamed ElBaradei, because he reads history and very determined in restoring the Egyptian dignity," Finkelstein said.

Finkelstein said that Egypt never wanted a war with Israel, even during Gamal Abdel Nasser’s era, and that the reasons that were used during 1967 war to justify the military offensive were "baseless."

"Unlike his speeches, Nasser never wanted or intended to launch a war against Israel," Finkelstein said.

"In 1973, Sadat wanted to control the Suez Canal to force Israel to sign a peace treaty," he added.

Although Finkelstein rejected any possibilities of a unified Arab military offensive against Israel, he said that the Camp David peace treaty was intended to marginalize Egypt.

"Israelis saw how Egyptians did so well in the 1973 war, so they signed Camp David because they wanted Egypt to be removed from the Arab front to prevail militarily," Finkelstein said.

"Once Israel signed the treaty, they intended to invade the occupied territories especially the West Bank and turned to Lebanon to destroy the PLO."

Gaza raids

Finkelstein confirmed that he is not passing any moral judgments, but is rather proving that Israel’s offensive was illegal according to International Law.

"1400 Palestinians were killed, 4/5 of them were civilians and 350 were children," he recounted.

"For every 400 Palestinian civilian victims, only one Israeli civilian was killed, for every 100 Palestinian militant killed, only one Israeli soldier was killed, does that sound like a war? If you called it the Gaza War you will be part of the Israeli propaganda because what happened was a massacre not a war," Finkelstein added.

Recounting reports of rights organizations over the Gaza massacre and testimonies of Israeli soldiers, Finkelstein confirmed that the Israeli propaganda machine always found the proper justifications.

"There were no guns and no enemy in Gaza, it was a one-sided war," said Finkelstein quoting one Israeli soldier.

"Another soldier said ‘I felt like a kid playing with his magnifying glass to kill the ants’, and that’s what [Israeli Defense Minister] Ehud Barak meant when he described the Israeli Defence Forces as the moral army," Finkelstein added.

Finkelstein urged Egyptians to be fair and reasonable while dealing with the Israeli issue.

"Sixty percent of Gaza’s population are children, is it fair and reasonable that those children go to bed hungry everyday? Just be fair and reasonable."

"There is a place for everyone in the rendezvous of victory, and in my way towards victory I may be using a wheel chair, and maybe Ahmed from Gaza will be the one pushing me, just like it was your day on Jan. 25," Finkelstein concluded.


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