Mubarak al-Mahdi to Asharq Al-Awsat: Normalizing Ties with Israel Acquits Sudan of Terrorism
In Sudan, more support normalizing ties with Israel than those who don’t. Among those supporters is Sudan’s former deputy Prime Minister Mubarak al-Fadil al-Mahdi, who served in the regime of ousted president Omar al-Bashir.
Mahdi told Asharq Al-Awsat that opposing normalization with Israel is “irrational”, especially since Palestinians themselves had normalized their ties with Israel after the Oslo Accords. This, according to Mahdi, comes at a time Sudan is in a dire need for waiver for its terrorism-related sanctions, a matter which Israel could help with.
Normalization of relations will “acquit” Sudan of terrorism, he charged.
Mahdi, who heads the National Umma Party, told Asharq Al-Awsat that Palestinians deal with Israel in electricity and customs with a large population of their people working in Israel.
Normalization of ties with Israel dates back to the signing of the Camp David Accords, a move which had written off any military options.
In 1978, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin signed the Camp David Accords.
“After Egypt regained its dignity in the 1973 war, it regained by signing (the Camp David Accords) its lands, normalized relations and raised the Israeli flag in Cairo, then many Arab countries (Jordan, Oman and Qatar) followed,” Mahdi said.
He added that continuing to boycott Israel has “become meaningless,” as the world and balances of power are changing. He noted that in Israel there are 13 Arab deputies in the Knesset, and the conflict has turned into a peaceful political, civilizational and cultural struggle.
Regarding Sudan’s normalization of its relations with Israel, he explains that the African country's economy, especially its agricultural sector, is severely underdeveloped.
“Although Sudan boasts 200 million acres of arable land, it cultivates about 45 million of them, with poor productivity and high cost due to underdevelopment,” he highlighted, pointing out that Israeli technologies could help improve Sudan’s situation.
“The yield of an acre of sesame crop, for example, does not exceed 100 kilograms, while acres in countries with advanced agricultural technology, such as Turkey, yield 1,700 kilograms,” he explained.
If relations should indeed thaw, there are quite a few things Sudan could get from Israel. Among them: technological and scientific aid, assistance in the field of intelligence (not mentioned publicly, but certainly discussed) and, above all, access to the White House.
“We will wait for what they will do for us to lift the sanctions,” Mahdi said.
“This is the first step, and if we go beyond it and remove the name of Sudan from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, we will have all opportunities in the process of normalization in relation to technical and economic cooperation,” he added.