No land. No peace.
By Barry Shaw
The problem with the land for peace policy is that you are only a regime change away from no land and no peace.
This glib proverb took on the hauntingly realistic feel of a bucket of freezing water to the face with the rapid deterioration of the Mubarak regime in Egypt and the daunting future of an increasingly influential Muslim Brotherhood ably assisted by a radical left wing minority based in Cairo.
They tried to assure us that the uprising had nothing to do with the Israel-Palestinian deadlock but, as success reared its head, we began to see signs and slogans shouting anti-Israel hatred. Posters of the now-hated Mubarak appeared with the Star of David smeared on his forehead displayed the in-built demonisation passionately felt by the mob.
The so-called international experts, caught short by events throughout the Arab world as they have by every major event in the Muslim world, insisted that the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood was not radical, would not attain influence, and only had the best intentions for Egypt and the Middle East.
The Cairo demonstrations were not as spontaneous as the media would have us believe. Neither did they represent the majority of the Egyptian people. Even if the number of people reached half a million at its maximum, a figure I doubt, this is a fraction of the total Egyptian population of eighty four million.
The problem for any regime is that it cannot be seen brutally putting down an insurection live on television.
Neither was the uprising peaceful, as the media again tried to convince us. They attempted to tell us that violence only began when the “ugly big-bellied Mubarak thugs”, as described by Roger Cohen of the New York Times, took to the streets. This is incorrect. By then the “peaceful, young, modern, intelligent” demonstrators had wrecked the National Museum stealing invaluable heritage, torched buildings, looted stores, attacked the police, and terrorised citizens to the extent that they had to raise vigilanty groups to protect private lives and property.
Let us be clear of this. The revolution in Egypt was crafted by the far left and Islamists. Put together by students smart enough to communicate by cell phones, facebook, twitter, and other social media methods, backed by numbers sent out of the mosques, the success was the civil unrest of international Socialism, Marxism, and Islamic nationalism.
Social justice and civil liberties were the slogans of people like 32 year old, Sally Moore, a Coptic Christian and “an avowed leftist” as described in the global edition of the New York Times of February 11, 2011 in which they quoted her as saying “I like the Brotherhood most. They are very good at organising.” She was joined, according to this report by Islam Lofti, a lawyer and leader of the Muslim Brotherhood Youth, and Zyad el-Elaimy, a 30 year old lawyer who is a leader of a Communist group.
When we saw the trade union groups take to the streets this confirmed, for me, the combined agenda of the left and the Muslim party. The Arab Doctors Union have several branches led by Muslim Brotherhood members.
The reverie of Europeans and America to the new voice of freedom, liberty, and democracy does not translate well in the only liberal democracy of the Middle East.
At the recent major IDC Herzlia Conference we heard the clashing voices of the visiting think tank experts and the local talking heads. This can be summed up succinctly by the comment of one of the Israeli panelists when he asked what was the difference between an American Jew and an Israeli Jew when it comes to Middle East politics. The American has more hope than concern. The Israeli has more concern than hope.
Israelis frown on the optimism being expressed by overseas observers to events in Israel. Israelis see the half empty glass. They cannot be faulted for their pessimism. They have experienced the disappointing results of democracy in the Arab world. They have seen a Bush-imposed democratic process in the Palestinian territories that saw a Hamas rise to power. They are not impressed by Muslim Brotherhood protestations that they do not seek control of Egypt. They heard the same story just a couple of years ago from Hizbollah in Lebanon, and look what is happening there. They are quick to point out that the Iranian Islamic Revolution began as a student’s protest against the Shah, and now the world quakes with fear from a nuclear Tehran.
Israel is right in predicting the rise and rise of an Islamic Egypt on their southern border. It is, for Israeli planners, inevitable.
Anti-Israel, anti-American statements will become more frequent and louder. They will be excused as being the voice of a minority that will not take power in the September elections. Western nations will line up to give aid to Egypt and to compete for lucrative business contracts. America will pump billions of dollars into the new Egypt in a futile attempt to hold on to a shrinking influence as Iran will develop ties to the incoming regime.
Expect to see a combined force of just under the majority level as Muslim and leftist parties garner slightly under fifty percent of the votes. Should they steamroller their way to a majority coalition this will speed up the inevitable change in international politics.
Egypt will not immediately rip up the peace accord with Israel. What they will do is to reach out to their Palestinian brethren and open the gates to Gaza. The effect will be to strengthen the Hamas regime and weaken the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority in Ramallah. There will be no control of what will flow into the Gaza Strip and into the hands of Hamas and the other terror organisations. One thing will be for certain, Hamas gaza will be wealthier, better equipped militarily, and have a closer liason with Iran.
The Sinai has been over run by the Bedouin during the uprising. They violently took over at least twenty police stations killing many Egyptian policemen. The Sinai is a huge and porous desert region that has been a major smuggling route. The length of the open border has now become a significant security headache for Israel. It leaves the Jewish state no other option but to rapidly construct a long fence in the vain hope that weapons and terrorists can be kept at bay.
Just as Iran uses Hizbollah as their proxy for attacks against Israel so will Egypt become a facilitator and open channel to Hamas for Iranian mixing in the region.
True, the Egyptian army will go through the motions of preventing such incursions but they will increasingly feel indebted to the people as they become defanged by Turkish-style constitutional rulings.
This dire prediction highlights the waning Western influence in the region, despite the bleatings and verbal hopes for smooth transition and democracy in the Arab world.
Israel would be advised to ignore the cries to make further radical concessions to an intransigent and stubbornly rejectionist Palestinian leadership. Other harsh lessons that have been learned by the Jewish state is that land for peace is not an option. As they saw in the Gaza Strip and in Lebanon withdrawals from territory only resulted in the installation of extremely hateful Islamic regimes, rockets, and death. This increasingly looks likely on its southern border.
Can anyone doubt that Israel will end up with no land and no peace? I thought not.