Israel Remains Quiet On Egypt, But Privately Seeking To Influence US, EU


Israel Seeking To Influence Europe, US To Back Military In Egypt
Seeing the military as the lesser of two evils, Israeli officials are engaging in efforts to sway the US and Europe from holding the middle line and come out to support the military in Egypt.

“While Israel is careful to argue that Egypt is critical to broad Western interests in the Middle East, its motivation is largely parochial: the American aid underpins the 34-year-old peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, so its withdrawal could lead to the unraveling of the agreement. More immediately, Israel is deeply worried that Egypt’s strife could create more openings for terrorist attacks on its territory from the Sinai Peninsula,” reports The New York Times.

The US is grappling with its limited options to exert pressure on Egypt to halt the violence. For all intents and purposes, Israel has remained silent on the developments in Cairo, choosing not to leave condemnations of violence to others within the international community.

“Israel does not have to support the (Egyptian) regime, especially not publicly. It is not our place to defend all the measures taken, this is not our business,” said Giora Eiland, a former chairman of Israel’s National Security Council.

One of the chief worries expressed by analysts about the increase in violence is that when it does subside, there will be recriminations on both sides. Hafez Ghanem of the Brookings Institution suggests Egyptians consider a South African-style “truth and reconciliation” panel.

“Creating a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (modeled on the one set up by President Mandela and Bishop Tutu after the fall of apartheid in South Africa) could be one way of easing tensions.  The objective of this commission would be to discover and reveal crimes perpetrated by all sides over the last two years and, by doing so, help achieve national reconciliation.  More than 20 countries all around the world have followed the South African example and set up such commissions to deal with crises and transitional situations,” Ghamen suggests.

However, Ghamen notes that it “would raise many difficult questions.  These include questions regarding the membership of the commission, as well as its relationship with the criminal justice system.  However, Egypt has not yet reached the stage where such questions are even relevant.”







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