What Egypt’s Handover of the Red Sea Islands to Saudi Arabia Means for Israel

Egypt made an excellent deal: It receives an outstanding economic lifeline in exchange for territories that it does not even own. However, this rescue line is also a knotted rope that turns Egypt into a Saudi satellite state.

By Zvi Bar’el

The maritime border demarcation agreement signed two days ago between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, authorizing the return of Tiran and Sanafir islands to the kingdom, aroused — as expected — a political storm in Egypt and concern in Israel.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi’s rivals, among them the Muslim Brotherhood, the April 6 protest movement and leftist representatives, assert that he lacks constitutional authority to cede any Egyptian territory, and if he does want to do so, he has to submit a request for parliamentary approval. Sissi and his government reject this claim, explaining that the two islands are sovereign Saudi territory and that they were leased to Egypt in 1950 to “strengthen the defense of Egypt and Saudi Arabia from Zionist aggression.”
Officially, Egypt and Saudi Arabia are correct. According to the correspondence between the late Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal and Egyptian Prime Minister Atef Sedki in the 1980s, President Hosni Mubarak asked Saudi Arabia not to raise the issue of the islands’ ownership until Israel completed its withdrawal from Egyptian territory as per the Camp David Accords. The fear was that bringing up the issue of sovereignty would cause Israel to refrain from discussing withdrawal from Taba by arguing that Israel’s earlier withdrawal from Tiran and Sanafir didn’t need to be part of the Camp David Accords, since they were Saudi territory.

Learn more » Haaretz
See more » http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.713919

Read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.713919

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