In an interview held several days before his death, renowned Egyptian playwright, author and political critic Ali Salem reiterated his view that Israel was not an enemy and expressed his hope that "that the political leadership in Egypt will not be ashamed of the peace accords." The interview aired on the Egyptian ON TV channel on September 20, 2015, two days before his death.
Following are excerpts:
: Under the current circumstances, does Israel really deserve to be called "a friend"?
Ali Salem: First of all, there is no such thing as friendship or animosity between countries. It is all about interests. Israel is not an enemy state. I know this is not in line with your views and convictions, but I want you to think about something: Let's assume that they are against peace and that they are evil. Fine. Let's assume that the Lord created such an evil nation. But they are not fools and they are not stupid.Israel would not allow a neighboring country to be torn to pieces, to become all screwed up, and to be ruled by gangs and by ISIS. It would never allow this.A strong Egypt is in Israel's best interest.
Host: But it welcomes all that is happening in Syria.
Ali Salem: What did Israel do to the Syrians? The Syrian regime did it all. That regime has failed to protect its people, and has shamed us for the whole world to see. Since you brought it up, let me just say this: The only Syrians who can get a full 8 hours sleep every night are the ones living in the Golan Heights. Is any other Syrian citizen safe from the bombs and the killings?
Host: Are you talking about the Golan that is under Israeli control?
Ali Salem: Yes, I am talking about the irony of this.
The Egyptians and the Hebrews are the most ancient peoples on Earth, and the relationship between them is real. I have never seen people who love the Egyptians as much as the Hebrews do.That is my opinion, and I stand behind it. This is what I have seen.
I hope that the political leadership in Egypt will not be ashamed of the peace accords. We did not commit a crime. Anwar Sadat did not commit a crime. He regained the Sinai down to the last centimeter. We should not be ashamed of this when we address our people.
Host: But how are we to persuade Egyptians that Israel is not an enemy, but that Hamas is? Can I at least say that they both pose a threat to our national security? I do not want to say that Hamas is an enemy.
Ali Salem: Israel does not pose a threat to the national security of Egypt on any level.