President Carter mediates between Begin (right) and Sadat during the signing of the peace treaty (American press)
The Associated Press quoted Egyptian officials and a Western diplomat as saying yesterday, Sunday, that Egypt may suspend the peace treaty with Israel if the latter invades the city of Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip, on the Egyptian border.
Press reports stated that Egyptian officials warned Israel of the possibility of Cairo suspending its obligations under the Camp David Peace Treaty between the two sides if the Israeli army launched an attack on Rafah.
Two Egyptian security sources told Al Jazeera that Cairo sent about 40 tanks and armored personnel carriers to northeastern Sinai during the past two weeks, coinciding with Israeli officials talking about approving a military operation in the city, which is crowded with hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians.
Tel Aviv does not seem to be heeding the Egyptian warnings, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced yesterday, Sunday, the plan to invade the city of Rafah, and revealed a plan to displace its population, which is estimated at one million and 400 thousand people.
Netanyahu said - in an interview with the American ABC network - that those who tell Israel that it should not invade Rafah are as if they are saying that it should lose the war and leave the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) to remain in the Gaza Strip.
In light of the Israeli insistence on invading Rafah, two questions emerge, according to observers: The first: How serious is the Egyptian threat to suspend the Camp David Accords signed between it and Israel in 1979, which at that time represented a violation of the unanimous Arab ranks of refusing to deal with the occupation?
The second question is: What remains of Camp David after the Israeli violations of the military protocol attached to it by invading Rafah and controlling the Philadelphia border axis between Gaza and Egypt, which the Israelis spoke of their intention to control?
The peace treaty was signed between former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin in Washington in 1979.
The treaty stipulated in its basic text that “agreed upon security arrangements be established, including areas with limited armament in Egyptian or Israeli territory, United Nations forces, and United Nations observers,” but it left the details of that to an additional protocol called “Appendix One.”
The treaty allows the agreed security arrangements to be amended at the request of one of the parties and by their agreement.
The treaty affected the Egyptian military presence in Sinai due to the restrictions imposed on the size and distribution of Egyptian forces in the region, which was divided into three regions.
The Additional Protocol regarding the armament zones in Egyptian territory constituted a security dilemma that disturbed the Egyptian authorities, especially in Area C, as they say that armed and outlaw groups are settling in the area as a safe haven amid tens of kilometers of mountains and jungles.
With the outbreak of the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip and Israeli officials talking about plans to displace the residents of Gaza to Sinai, Egypt considered the matter a red line, and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi expressed his country’s refusal to displace the Palestinians in Gaza, whether through displacement internally or outside their lands, especially to Sinai.
Talk about the Philadelphia border axis between the Gaza Strip and Egypt also came to the fore again after Netanyahu spoke about the need for Israel to fully control the axis last month.
Netanyahu said on January 30, “The Philadelphia axis must be under our control. It must be closed. It is clear that any other arrangement will not guarantee the disarmament we seek.”
In its response to Netanyahu's statements, Cairo considered violating the Philadelphia Line a red line, and a statement issued by the head of the official Egyptian Information Service, Diaa Rashwan, said that any Israeli move towards occupying the Salah al-Din Axis (Philadelphia) would lead to a serious and serious threat to Egyptian-Israeli relations.
Rashwan said, "Here it must be strictly emphasized that any Israeli move in this direction will lead to a serious and serious threat to Egyptian-Israeli relations. Egypt, in addition to being a country that respects its international obligations, is capable of defending its interests and sovereignty over its land and borders."
With the beginning of the Israeli bombing of areas near the Egyptian border with Gaza last December, Egyptian Parliament member Mustafa Bakri (who is close to the regime) warned on the X platform of what he called a dangerous development, which he said “will lead to the explosion of the situation between Egypt and Israel... The strikes are a few meters from the Egyptian border. The enemy is continuing with its plans. Egypt’s borders are a red line.”
The Philadelphia Axis, also called the Salah al-Din Axis, is within a buffer zone under the Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel in 1979. Its width does not exceed hundreds of meters, and extends 14.5 kilometers from the Mediterranean Sea to the Kerem Shalom crossing.
What does it mean to cancel the treaty?
As Israel mobilized its forces to invade Rafah, ignoring international warnings and the Egyptian position, the Russian newspaper “News Re” published a report entitled “Will a war break out between Israel and Egypt?”, which dealt with the escalation on the Egyptian border with Gaza and the confrontation it might lead to between Cairo and Tel Aviv.
Meanwhile, a New York Times report indicated that Egypt is watching with concern the increasing pressure on its border with Gaza, and has sent military reinforcements to the border on its part, and warned Israel against any step that might lead to forcing the residents of the Gaza Strip to enter Egyptian territory.
As for the Associated Press, it published a report highlighting the repercussions of canceling the Camp David institutes if Egypt carries out its threat, and said that the step would put pressure on the Israeli army, as the treaty greatly limits the number of forces on both sides of the border with Egypt, which allows the army The Israeli government focused on the threats that lie in wait for it on other fronts, including the northern front with Lebanon.
The agency said that canceling the treaty would deprive Israel of the calm it enjoyed on the southern border, and strengthening its forces on the border with Egypt would pose a challenge to the Israeli army, which is deployed in the West Bank and is waging a war in the Gaza Strip and daily skirmishes with Hezbollah on the border with Lebanon.
She also indicated that the step would have repercussions on Egypt as well, which receives billions of dollars in American aid. She said that suspending the treaty would put that aid at risk, and sending large military reinforcements to Sinai would be a burden on the faltering Egyptian economy.
Source: Al Jazeera