In the new Egypt, the public wants to keep the treaty with Israel

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A new poll, conducted by the New York-based International Peace Institute, finds that the vast majority of Egyptians want to keep their peace treaty with Israel.

Almost two thirds would approve of a party that favored keeping the peace treaty, and this appeals strongly to half those polled. A little over one third prefer a party that seeks to break the peace treaty and end diplomatic relations with Israel.

The same two thirds also prefer a party that will work for a two state solution to the Israeli-Palestine issue.

These results sync with what I heard from demonstrators in Tahrir Square, and from residents of working class districts, when I visited Cairo in February. The common response went like this: "We want to keep the peace treaty because we don't want war. But we want our new government to push Israel much harder for peace with the Palestinians."

Many Egyptians with whom I spoke also wanted the government to press Israel to change some provisions of the peace treaty, especially the one that requires Egypt to get Israeli permission to send troops into the Sinai Peninsula.

This issue came into public view some months ago, when the Egyptian government had to get an Israeli green light before it could send troops to put down a Bedouin protests in Sinai. This was viewed by many Egyptians as an insult to their sovereignty. However, Israel sees the Sinai as a buffer zone, and would probably be reluctant to reopenthe issue to review.

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