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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Leading Egyptian candidate: Israel "racist", OBL killing "state terrorism"

From Naharnet:
A leading Islamist candidate in Egypt's presidential election has branded Israel a "racist state" and said a shared 1979 peace treaty was "a national security threat" that should be revised.

Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh also denounced al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden's assassination by U.S. special forces as an act of "state terrorism," in a late Saturday Egyptian television interview.

Abul Fotouh, a front runner in the May 23-24 election according to polls, had earlier described Israel as an "enemy" in a televised debate with his main contender, former foreign minister and Arab League chief Amr Moussa.

In Saturday's interview with the private Egyptian CBC satellite station, he said he had opposed the treaty since its implementation. "I still view the peace treaty as a national security threat to Egypt, and it must be revised."

"It is a treaty that forbids Egypt from exercising full sovereignty in the Sinai and allows Israelis to enter Sinai without visas, while they need visas for Cairo," he said.

The treaty, in which Israel withdrew from the Sinai after capturing it in a 1967 war, does not allow Egypt a military presence in parts of the peninsula.

Abul Fotouh said Israel was "a racist state with 200 nuclear warheads" that continued to pose a threat to Egypt.

A moderate Islamist with support from both hardline fundamentalists and liberals, Abul Fotouh refused to describe Bin Laden as a terrorist, saying the term was used by the United States to "hit Muslim interests."

But he said the killing of the Saudi militant was an "act of state terrorism," and Bin Laden had deserved a fair trial, although he disagreed with Bin Laden's use of violence.
Fotouh has gotten endorsements from both the Salafi al-Nour party and from Wael Ghonim, the Google employee who was one of the early leaders of the revolution. In a recent poll he was slightly in the lead.

The thing is, compared to other candidates, Fotouh probably is moderate. You just have to move the goalposts a bit when talking about Arabs being "moderate" because it means something much different when applied to Arabs than to Westerners.