(Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

BY STEVEN SPARKMAN
ANCHOR ZACH TOOMBS


As fighting in the Gaza Strip intensifies, Middle East experts are worried one of the most important treaties in the region is at risk.

With a new president backed by the Muslim Brotherhood, which is strongly anti-Israel, will Egypt break its treaty with Israel to support Gaza? (Via The Atlantic, New York Times)

The two countries have been at peace since 1979, but unlike the last escalation in Gaza four years ago, Operation Cast Lead, Israel can’t necessarily count on Egypt to remain neutral.

“Popular support has always leaned to Palestinians here, a fact not reflected by their government until now.” (Video via Al Jazeera)

Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi has condemned Israel’s latest operation as “unacceptable,” lobbied the UN for action and even recalled Egypt’s ambassador to Israel. (Via Ahram Online, New Statesman)

He also ordered the prime minister to visit Gaza on Friday in a show of support for Hamas. But Morsi has stopped short of opening the border to Gaza or giving material aid to Hamas, both of which would violate the treaty.

Many analysts noted that the hostilities put Morsi in a difficult position. As the Washington Post phrased it: “Morsi is toeing a fine line as he tries to balance a sense of accountability to Egyptian voters with a desire to maintain stability...”

During the reign of Hosni Mubarak, the Muslim Brotherhood criticized the president for being too lenient on Israel. That position has only intensified with the Brotherhood’s recent victories at the polls.

A writer for Haaretz says if Morsi doesn’t take action against Israel, he risks losing his base. “He must avoid appearing to betray their principles without ruining the chance of getting Israel to agree to a truce...”

But any deterioration in Egypt-Israel relations could jeopardize Egypt’s $2 billion in U.S. aid and it’s upcoming IMF loan for nearly $5 billion. It would also likely isolate Egypt and diminish its ability to mediate conflicts.

A Council on Foreign Relations fellow tells The Christian Science Monitor Morsi doesn’t have much choice. “...even if Morsi wanted to make a bold policy shift, his options are extremely limited because the costs of a dramatic shift are too high.”

So which way will he go? Or will he try to stay in the middle? Analysts say the prime minister’s visit to Gaza may be designed to begin truce talks. But Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren didn’t sound very hopeful in an interview on CNN.

Oren: “The Egyptians have played a constructive role in the past, mediating with Hamas.”
Blitzer: “What about now?”
Oren: “I think they can play the similar role today.”
Blitzer: “Are they?”
Oren: “I think they can.”
Blitzer: “You think, but are they?”
Oren: “That’s all I can say right now.”

Is Decades-Old Egypt-Israel Peace Threatened by Gaza War?

by Steven Sparkman
0
Transcript
Nov 15, 2012

Is Decades-Old Egypt-Israel Peace Threatened by Gaza War?

 

(Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

BY STEVEN SPARKMAN
ANCHOR ZACH TOOMBS


As fighting in the Gaza Strip intensifies, Middle East experts are worried one of the most important treaties in the region is at risk.

With a new president backed by the Muslim Brotherhood, which is strongly anti-Israel, will Egypt break its treaty with Israel to support Gaza? (Via The Atlantic, New York Times)

The two countries have been at peace since 1979, but unlike the last escalation in Gaza four years ago, Operation Cast Lead, Israel can’t necessarily count on Egypt to remain neutral.

“Popular support has always leaned to Palestinians here, a fact not reflected by their government until now.” (Video via Al Jazeera)

Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi has condemned Israel’s latest operation as “unacceptable,” lobbied the UN for action and even recalled Egypt’s ambassador to Israel. (Via Ahram Online, New Statesman)

He also ordered the prime minister to visit Gaza on Friday in a show of support for Hamas. But Morsi has stopped short of opening the border to Gaza or giving material aid to Hamas, both of which would violate the treaty.

Many analysts noted that the hostilities put Morsi in a difficult position. As the Washington Post phrased it: “Morsi is toeing a fine line as he tries to balance a sense of accountability to Egyptian voters with a desire to maintain stability...”

During the reign of Hosni Mubarak, the Muslim Brotherhood criticized the president for being too lenient on Israel. That position has only intensified with the Brotherhood’s recent victories at the polls.

A writer for Haaretz says if Morsi doesn’t take action against Israel, he risks losing his base. “He must avoid appearing to betray their principles without ruining the chance of getting Israel to agree to a truce...”

But any deterioration in Egypt-Israel relations could jeopardize Egypt’s $2 billion in U.S. aid and it’s upcoming IMF loan for nearly $5 billion. It would also likely isolate Egypt and diminish its ability to mediate conflicts.

A Council on Foreign Relations fellow tells The Christian Science Monitor Morsi doesn’t have much choice. “...even if Morsi wanted to make a bold policy shift, his options are extremely limited because the costs of a dramatic shift are too high.”

So which way will he go? Or will he try to stay in the middle? Analysts say the prime minister’s visit to Gaza may be designed to begin truce talks. But Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren didn’t sound very hopeful in an interview on CNN.

Oren: “The Egyptians have played a constructive role in the past, mediating with Hamas.”
Blitzer: “What about now?”
Oren: “I think they can play the similar role today.”
Blitzer: “Are they?”
Oren: “I think they can.”
Blitzer: “You think, but are they?”
Oren: “That’s all I can say right now.”

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