Monday, January 31, 2011

Bibi says ties with Egypt must be preserved

This from the AP in Jerusalem by  Matti Friedman

"We are anxiously monitoring what is happening in Egypt and in our region," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said before his Cabinet's weekly meeting.
"Israel and Egypt have been at peace for more than three decades and our objective is to ensure that these ties be preserved. At this time, we must display responsibility, restraint and utmost prudence."

Israel's primary concern is that the uprising could be commandeered by Egypt's strongest opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, and its allies, who would presumably move Egypt away from its alignment with the West and possibly cancel the peace agreement with Israel.
"Israel has an interest in Egypt being democratic, but through a process that promises sustainability," said Dan Shueftan, director of the National Security Studies Center at Haifa University. "If you have a process that starts with a desire for democracy but then sees radicals take over, then the result at the end of the process is worse than what you had at the beginning."

Some in Israel have critically compared President Barack Obama's response to the crisis to that of President Jimmy Carter to the Iranian revolution in 1979. Obama has called on Mubarak to show restraint and pass unspecified reforms in Egypt.
"Jimmy Carter will go down in American history as 'the president who lost Iran,' which during his term went from being a major strategic ally of the United States to being the revolutionary Islamic republic," wrote the analyst Aluf Benn in the daily Haaretz. "Barack Obama will be remembered as the president who 'lost' Turkey, Lebanon and Egypt, and during whose tenure America's alliances in the Middle East crumbled."

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