Abdel Fattah al-Sissi.
Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi. Photo by Reuters
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Egypt's former army chief and leading presidential candidate Abdel Fattah al-Sissi said Monday that "there is real opportunity" for peace with Israel and for it "to exist naturally in the region" if it accepts the Arab Peace Initiative.

Speaking to Sky News in Arabic, Sissi also said he would not hesitate to amend the current peace treaty with Israel should the need arise.

The 2002 Arab Peace Initiative calls for pan-Arab normalization of relations with Israel in return for an end to Israel’s occupation of Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Golan Heights, along with its recognition of Palestinian refugees’ right of return or of compensation.

Al-Sissi also discussed Hamas in the interview, and said that the Islamic Palestinian group's positions "caused it to lose the sympathy and empathy on the part of the Egyptian people.” An Egyptian has recently outlawed Hamas, and ordered all its assets seized.

Last week Egypt's former foreign minister and Arab League secretary-general Amr Moussa urged Hamas to recognize Israel, saying that he believes "Hamas should declare its acceptance of the Arab initiative of 2002, which is the map of normalization and recognition of the State of Israel, together with the establishing of the Palestinian state and the withdrawal from the occupied territory."