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Daniel Haboucha

Egypt, the Arab Revolutions… and Israel

Let’s get one thing straight: the events in Egypt which began a few weeks ago and which continue to unfold are not about Israel.Many Israeli and North-American political analysts have insisted on considering Egypt’s political turmoil solely through the lens of what it means for Israel, which is as misguided as it is egocentric, and this has led to some absurd statements being made to the effect that democratisation in the Arab world is only “good” if it benefits Israel.However, having already written about the so-called revolution from the perspective of domestic politics and democratisation, and having attended a talk today on the subject by the Israeli ambassador to the Netherlands, I do wish to briefly consider the question of what Egypt’s regime change might mean for Israel.There is no doubt that Mubarak’s fall came as a harsh blow for the Netanyahu government. With Israel’s international isolation currently climbing to levels not seen since the 1970s, Mubarak was seen as one of Israel’s most reliable and stable allies. His assistance in containing Hamas, opposing the spread of Iranian influence, and facilitating Israeli-Palestinian talks were invaluable to the Israeli government. So sorry was he to see Mubarak fall, in fact, that Netanyahu continued to make vocal statements in support of Mubarak even after all other world leaders had abandoned him; the irony, of course, being that statements of support from an Israeli prime minister are the last thing an Arab autocrat needs to restore his waning popularity.But as much as Mubarak’s fall may have weakened Israel’s diplomatic position in the region, its long-term consequences for the peace process and regional stability are far from certain.Most commentators, while wary of popular sentiment and the emerging role of the Muslim Brotherhood, agree that Egypt is not likely to abrogate its peace treaty with… Read More