Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Egyptian-Israel Future

The Arab Spring threw a change-up in the relations between Israel and Egypt. A line of autocratic rulers from Sadat to Mubarak have guaranteed Israelis protection through a wide variety of treaties and statements. Now that Egypt has thrown out Hosni Mubarak and made a turn towards democracy, some basic realities need to be confronted. On the Egyptian street, there’s at best a healthy mistrust towards Israel--and at worst complete and utter hatred. While most international observers expect Egypt to maintain international obligations, there’s no dispute that it will be an election issue and that Israelis Mubarak era relations are over.

Last Fridays violent protests at the Israeli embassy might be just the tip of a larger iceberg depending on what government eventually comes to Egypt. Representative governments are much more susceptible to popular pressure at the ballot box than Israel’s previous dictator friends. How the new leaders respond to the healthy hatred of the populace towards Israel is a key question. If their seen as too nice towards Jerusalem, they could be voted out or worse. But if their seen as overly hostile and antagonistic towards Israel, then we could run the risk of another Middle East war. Israel will be one of the greatest foreign policy questions for the new leaders of Egypt.

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