I’ve received a few queries in the last week or so about how the situation in Egypt looks like from Israel. If I stand on a tall building on a clear day, I can almost see Tahrir Square…no, just kidding. We’re not quite that close to Cairo.
Actually, the view from Israel is a pretty depressing one. While the rest of the world supports the will of the Egyptian people, Israel can’t seem to get past its own self-interests. The government has repeatedly said that keeping Mubarak in power is of utmost concern, not only for Israel, but for the West as a whole. The main concern of the Israeli government is the country’s peace treaty with Egypt and the strain it may be placed under, particularly should the Muslim Brotherhood find itself at the top of the Egyptian political food chain.
In my opinion, this is an extremely problematic position for Israel. How is it that the country that claims to be “the only democracy in the Middle East” will not support democratic regime change among its neighbors? [This is a rhetorical question, of course. Israel’s concern for its own security is a pretty safe bet].
Legitimacy of the State’s security concerns aside, explicitly giving support to Mubarak is making Israel even more of a pariah among the industrialized nations that it seeks so badly to be allied with. It saddens me that the needs and wants of the Egyptian people seem to be entirely ignored by the government here. And that those who do care about the Egyptian people are being villified.
I am waiting with great anticipation to see what happens next in Cairo. I’m sure you can guess on whose side I’m on…