Egypt´s Suleiman: Israel may consider occupying Sinai (YNetNews.Com -Yedioth Internet) Roi Kais Published: 04.15.12, 22:38)
YNet News - Yediot Achronot
YNet News - Yediot Achronot Articles-Index-Top
Ex-regime strongman says he fears ´price Egypt will have to pay if
Israel decides to reoccupy Sinai.´ Calls on political rivals
to ´exercise caution, keep peace in region´ in light of close
relations between Egypt and Hamas
Egyptian presidential candidate Omar Suleiman addressed the relations
between Egypt and Israel for the first time since he announced his
candidacy earlier this month.
In an interview with Egyptian daily al-Youm al-Saba´a, Suleiman
analyzed relations between the two neighboring countries in the wake
of the Arab Spring and the ongoing terrorist activity originating
from the Sinai Peninsula. "I´m fearful of the price Egypt will have
to pay if Israel decides to reoccupy Sinai," he said.
He called on the Muslim Brotherhood party, which is considered his
political rivals, "to exercise caution in an effort to keep peace in
"I fear that Israel thinks Egypt has become one of its enemies," he
said referring to the close relations between Hamas and the Muslim
Brotherhood and the current situation in Sinai.
"Israel regards the Sinai Peninsula as an unsecure area, and is lead
by the notion that Egyptian territory can be used for rocket
launching. Therefore, Israel may consider returning to secure
borders," he added.
Asked whether he plans to reoccupy Sinai, Suleiman replied: "It´s
possible that Israel will confront us and use its national security
as an excuse to do so. Israelis are experts at presenting such
excuses to the world."
He further said that he is fearful of misleading signals that could
lead to unwanted confrontations. "If the Israelis reenter Sinai, they
won´t be quick to leave it again. Egypt could pay a heavy price if
such an event occurred," he said.
According to Suleiman, "Egypt should continue tightening its
relationship with Hamas but not at the expense of the country´s
national interests, regional security and peace that will all enable
Egypt to further develop internally."
Suleiman, appointed deputy president by Mubarak in his last days in
power, entered the presidential race at the last moment, triggering
both concern and heavy criticism from reformists who see him as a
symbol of Mubarak´s rule and a danger to democracy.
Tens of thousands of Egyptians packed into Cairo´s Tahrir Square on
Friday to protest against Suleiman´s run for the presidency. Muslim
Brotherhood supporters waved banners depicting the presidential
candidate as an agent of Israel.
Meanwhile, the body overseeing Egypt´s presidential election recently
disqualified 10 candidates from the race, including Suleiman.
According to election rules, disqualified candidates have 48 hours to
appeal the decision. The final list of candidates will be announced
on April 26.
Suleiman told Egyptian media sources that the commission did not
fully disqualify him but had told him that he had not presented the
proper number of endorsements. Each candidate needed at least 30,000
endorsements, including at least 1,000 from each of the country´s 15
provinces, to join the race.
In response to his "temporary" disqualification, Suleiman pledged to
press ahead with his campaign out of respect to his supporters.
(Copyright 2012 © Yedioth Internet 04/15/12)
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY