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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Will Egyptian Peace Threaten Israel?

Original article published as Will a Democratic Egypt Destabilize Israel?


Not everyone thinks the new democracy in Egypt is a good thing. However, those who believe in freedom will give the new government time and a little space to make it's own errors. Democracy grows after the seed if is first planted. Even in the United States, democracy has been an evolving concept and applied to evolving classes of people. As Israel wakes up Saturday, February 12, 2011, it's world will be changed forever. There is a new sheriff in town and the success or failure of the Egyptian democracy will clearly affect it's neighbor state, Israel, and so, the rest of the world.




The roar from Liberation Square continued for an hour and a half after Pres. Hosni Mubarak stepped down. The celebration lasted throughout the night. Hosni Mubarak may have been a brutal dictator but he was a friend to Western and Israeli interests. He especially was the go-to man in the Arab world when claims were cast against the Israeli government about oppression of the Palestinians. If the predominately Arab country of Egypt was not objecting to Israel's actions it must be acceptable. Such rubber stamping of Israel foreign policy is likely a thing of the past. In fact, the entire peace process between the two countries is clearly at stake.


At the same time, the fledgling Egyptian military government has it's own hands full. Many Jews resent the Camp David Peace Accords in which Israel gave up the Sinai Peninsula, won in the 1967 war, in exchange for lasting peace with Egypt, according to columnist Joe Hilliker of the The agreement cost Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat his life. His successor, now Past Pres. Hosni Mubarak, respected the Camp David Accords, hence continuing the peace for 30 years. Not all was lost under Mubarak. Radical forces in either country could put that lasting peace to the test. celebration ii sm Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood, a transnational political organization founded in Egypt, may seek to turn the new government into an an Islamic state. US democratic principles suggest mixing a state religion with government can lead to oppression of the minority, an un-democratic principle. It precludes minority religious voices from representation and an opportunity to be heard and excuses the country from the obligation to protect the few from the majority, often the necessary job of a democracy. While the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt believes in peaceful processes, and decried the 911 attacks on the twin towers in New York, suspected splinter groups are violent and not Western friendly. The benefit of a controlling entity for 30 years is the consistency of the ruling government, for good or for bad. While Egypt has maintained a stable position towards Israel throughout a series of leadership changes in the US, the US rarely maintains the same stable point of view. With each new presidential cycle comes new priorities and a new leadership direction. Currently, some in Israel feel the US is not as friendly as it once was, for example.


 guarding palace One can rationally expect the same swings in position from a new democratic Egypt as it struggles to find itself. Hence, Egypt cannot be expected to side eternally with US policy in the Middle East if it sides with our political point of view at all. When Pres. Barak Obama sided with the Egyptian people he was siding with the people who reflect American values, that is, he was siding with democracy. One bad part of a controlling entity for 30 years are the civil rights abuses that strong-arm governments effect upon their people.






None of this matters to an ecstatic population in Egypt tonight as they celebrate liberty won in just 18 days. From another point of view, the freedom won today when Hosni Mubarak stepped aside has taken 18 days of gut wrenching protests preceded by 30 years of political oppression. How tragic it would be to endure those 30 years plus 18 days only to lose one's life in a war that otherwise would never have taken place. Eternal hope exists the citizens of Egypt will choose their government wisely.  At the same time, those who truly believe in freedom and democracy understand freedom is a process and encourage the birth of a new society, even if it does not side with current political positions. That will require significant patience and tolerance from neighbors and a world community already galvanized.


storefront sign al jazeera


Read more: http:/ Read more: Freedom always come with a price. If Egypt elects leaders who seek war rather then peace then they will be as bound by the constraints and casualties of war as they were by their prior dictator. If they choose peace, not war, they will give the gift of a future to their children, and to the world.

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