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Thursday, February 17, 2011

What could go wrong?

Caroline Glick looks at some of the history of Israel's peace treaty with Egypt.
WHILE BEGIN'S behavior during the negotiations is relatively easy to understand, Israel's behavior since the peace with Egypt was signed is less comprehensible, and certainly less forgivable. Since Israel withdrew from the Sinai in 1981, it has been the state's consistent policy to ignore Egypt's bad faith. This 30-year refusal of Israel's leadership to contend with the true nature of the deal Israel achieved with Egypt has had a debilitating impact both on Israel's internal strategic discourse as well as on its international behavior.

As the US-backed demonstrators in Tahrir Square gained steam, and the prospect that Mubarak's regime would indeed be overthrown became increasingly likely, IDF sources began noting that the IDF and the Mossad will need to build intelligence gathering capabilities towards Egypt after 30 years of neglect. These statements make clear the debilitating impact of Israel's self-induced strategic blindness to our neighbor in the south.

Under the ceasefire, with Israeli approval and encouragement, Egypt has built a modern, US-trained and armed military. And for 30 years, that military has been training to fight Israel.

On the other side, Israel stopped training in desert warfare and stopped gathering intelligence on the Egyptian military. As far as IDF commanders and successive defense ministers have been concerned, there was no reason to prepare for war or care about Egypt's preparations for war because we were at peace.

On the international stage, our leadership's refusal to acknowledge that Egypt had not abandoned its belligerent attitude against Israel was translated into an abject refusal to admit or deal with the fact that Egypt leads the international political war against Israel. Rather than fight back when Egyptian diplomats at the UN instigate anti-Israel resolution after anti-Israel resolution, Israeli diplomats have pretended that there is no reason for concern.

The same is the case regarding Egyptian anti-Semitism. Before the peace treaty, the Foreign Ministry prepared regular reports on anti-Semitism in the Egyptian media and school system. These reports were distributed at embassies and consulates throughout the world. After the treaty was signed, the reports were filed away and never spoken of.

In his speeches Sadat repeatedly claimed that he was channeling the hopes and beliefs of the entire Egyptian people. But the fact is that Sadat was a military dictator.

Israel failed to consider the implications of signing a deal with a military dictator on the prospects for the deal's longevity. In an interview with Der Spiegel last week the Muslim Brotherhood's puppet Mohammed ElBaradei explained those implications. As ElBaradei put it, Israel has "a peace treaty with Mubarak, but not one with the Egyptian people."

THE ADVANTAGE of having a good relationship with a dictator is that he can deliver quickly. The disadvantage is that once he is gone no one is bound by his decisions because he doesn't represent anyone.
Read the whole thing.



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