The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs Calls upon Egypt to Reaffirm its Commitment to Peace with Israel

OTTAWA, Sept. 11, 2011 /CNW/ - The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs condemns the attack Friday night on the Israeli Embassy in Cairo.  Egyptian authorities should reaffirm both their responsibilities under international agreement to protect Israeli diplomats in Egypt and their commitment to maintenance of the Israel-Egypt peace treaty, Centre leadership said today.

"The Israel-Egypt peace treaty of 1979 is a cornerstone of Middle East stability, and the benchmark for Arab-Israel peace diplomacy," said Centre board Chairman David Koschitzky. "Its maintenance is important not only to Israel, but to all those worldwide who wish to see a long-term and stable process of broader Arab-Israeli reconciliation."

"Like all Canadians, the Jewish community watched last winter's political changes in Egypt with a mixture of hope and concern", continued Koschitzky. "The Israel-Egypt  treaty has stood for more than thirty years. Maintaining it is critical to the international credibility and legitimacy of the new Egyptian government. To a great extent, the Egyptian revolution of the past year will be judged by its handling of its important relationship with Israel."

Noting the statement issued by Prime Minister Harper strongly condemning the embassy attack, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs CEO Shimon Fogel underscored Ottawa's expectation that Egypt will honour its international agreements.  "We hope that Canada will use its diplomatic contacts with Egypt to reinforce this expectation, including proper Egyptian supervision over the Sinai Peninsula which borders both Egypt and Israel. The Sinai must not become a staging ground for terrorist actions against Israel", said Fogel.

Fogel went on to note that Egyptian state-controlled media regularly broadcasts material that incites hatred of Jews and Israelis. "The broadcast of antisemitic and inflammatory material encourages violent incidents like the one we saw Friday" said Fogel. "Canada can use its influence with Egypt to encourage a change in this policy".

"Regional peace has been an elusive goal, but for more than three decades, the Israel-Egypt peace treaty has been an enduring benchmark for what is possible when leaders make difficult compromises to achieve peace" concluded Koschitzky. "Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin shared the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize for their courage and leadership in concluding this agreement. We urge the leaders of Egypt to protect that legacy."

SOURCE Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA)

For further information:

Jordan Kerbel at (416) 317-9517

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