In an interview with Egypt today, Hisham El-Bastawisi gives us one of the most confusing quotations of this presidential election.
Some countries in the Middle East like Iran claim that as Israel has nuclear weapons, they also have the right to have such weapons but El-Bastawisi takes the same logic further by claiming Islamists are on the rise in Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco because Israel is a Jewish state! In other words, he is claiming had Israel been a secular state the rest of the Arab world would either be as secular or "less Islamist" (so, it's not about the occupation but the religion of Israel). He also forgets that Egypt's constitution referred to sharia back in the 30s (i.e., before Israel existed) and Saudi Arabia is another religious based state in the region that feeds, financially and ideologically, most of the Islamists in Egypt. So, is he also asking Saudi Arabia to become a secular state? Yes!
I believe that the main problem with Israel’s relations with the Arab world and not just with Egypt is that Israel is advocating a land for peace solution. This solution is one where Israel has nothing to offer. We [Arabs] are the ones who will give the land and provide the peace. What will they give in return? Nothing.
The world must realize that the presence of an ideological or religious state in the region will push all the surrounding countries in the same direction in order to protect their identities. We have nothing against the Jews and Judaism as a religion, but we have a problem with the Jewish state and the Zionist ideology that claims that this land is for Jews only.
In my opinion, the solution is for Israel to become a secular state and not a religious one. They should recognize that anyone who is born in their territories is entitled to full citizenship and rights. The entire region must be secular and all citizens should enjoy all rights.