All Quiet on the Southern Front
Israel cautiously welcomes an embryonic, potential new democracy
Mere hours after former President Hosni Mubarak departed Cairo, noted regional watcher Lindsay Lohan tweeted, “I pray Egypt maintains it’s [sic] treaty with Israel and sets the trend for its neighbors to create peace with Israel and the entire region.”
So far, so good: Over the weekend, the governing Supreme Council of the Armed Forces announced it would honor the 1979 accord; Prime Minister Netanyahu welcomed the pledge. The countries’ defense ministers have also spoken (Egypt’s defense minister, Mohammed Tantawi, is the ruling figurehead); Ehud Barak dismissed comparisons of Egypt in 2011 to Iran in 1979. And in the past few days, many Israelis, while still shaken, have come around both to the unlikelihood of any dramatic alterations in its country’s relationship with Egypt—Israel “has no reason to fear,” a former Mossad chief told the New York Times—and to the fact that, well, the country that often proudly (and correctly) calls itself the region’s only democracy should be warm to the fact that it may soon have some company. “Israel will have no choice but to make peace with 80 million Egyptians,” Thomas Friedman writes. Such a peace will be more difficult to attain, but, if attained, he argues, it will be more durable.
Shimon Peres has been prominent in Israel for as long as there has been an Israel. He is 87 years old. “We bless the Egyptian people in anticipation that its desires for freedom and hope be met,” he said over the weekend. “A regime went away, and a new generation arrived.” Is there anything nicer than when someone whose old road is rapidly fading lends a hand in building the new one?
Israel’s Netanyahu Welcomes Egyptian Military’s Pledge to Honor Peace Accord [WP]
As Egypt Calms Down, So Do Israeli Nerves [NYT]
Postcard from Cairo, Part 2 [NYT]
Israel Hopes Egyptians Receive the Freedom They Seek, Peres Says [Haaretz]