As Entire World Condems Mubarak Israel Voices Support for Regime *updated*
I’ve really lost my ability to be shocked or surprised by anything Benjamin Netanyahu says or does:
Israel has called on the United States and Europe to curb their criticism of president Hosni Mubarak “in a bid to preserve stability in Egypt” and the wider Middle East, an Israeli newspaper reports.
The Israeli daily Haaretz reported on Monday that the foreign ministry, in an urgent special cable, instructed its ambassadors to key countries, to “stress … the importance of Egypt’s stability”.
Increasingly, president Mubarak has been isolated by swift and at times harsh criticism from Western leaders who called for reform. It is unclear how angry Egyptians will interpret Israel’s apparent support for their government.
The protests in Egypt have reportedly thrown the Israeli government into turmoil, with military officials holding lengthy strategy sessions, assessing possible scenarios of a post-Mubarak Egypt.
Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, said on Sunday that his government is “anxiously monitoring” the political unrest in Egypt, his first comment on the crisis threatening a government that has been one of Israel’s key allies for more than 30 years.
Israeli officials have remained largely silent about the situation in Egypt, but have made clear that preserving the historic 1979 peace agreement with the biggest Arab nation is a paramount interest…
“We are anxiously monitoring what is happening in Egypt and in our region,” Netanyahu said before his cabinet’s weekly meeting on Sunday.
“Israel and Egypt have been at peace for more than three decades and our objective is to ensure that these ties be preserved. At this time, we must display responsibility, restraint and utmost prudence,” Netanyahu added.
It was the first high-level comment from Israel on the Egypt protests, which began last week with disorganised crowds demanding the resignation of Mubarak and have grown into the most significant challenge to Egypt’s autocratic regime in recent memory.
Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence minister, discussed the situation in Egypt with Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, on Sunday, according to a statement from Barak’s office. No details of the discussion were released.
Hey Bibi, here’s a novel idea- stop building settlements and move forward with a REAL two state solution.
According to the Palestine Papers Bibi has spent his entire political career undermining the peace process and blaming everything on the Palestinians. Both sides are to blame. In 2002 the Arab League offered full normalization of relations with Israel in the aftermath of a just solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, even apparently foregoing the full right of return. But nah, that wasn’t good enough because it meant no more illegal settlement expansion.
Normalized relations would its Arab neighbors would make Israel less dependent on the one or two autocracies in the region.
UPDATE: Laura Rozen reports today about a special Egypt working group/experts meeting from the foreign policy/Think Tank community with President Obama. Here’s the guest list:
George Washington University Middle East expert and Foreign Policy.com Middle East channel editor Marc Lynch; the National Security Network’s Joel Rubin, a former State Department Egypt desk officer; the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Michele Dunne, a former NSC and State Department Policy Planning and Egypt embassy official who co-chair a bipartisan working group on Egypt); Council on Foreign Relations’s Egypt expert Steve Cook; the New America Foundation’s Steve Clemons; Center for American Progress Middle East expert Brian Katulis, and former U.S. Amb. to Israel Martin Indyk, now with the Brookings Institution and an advisor to George Mitchell.
Elliott Abrams, the former Bush White House Middle East/democracy advisor, was invited but didn’t go. “I had other commitments I did not think I could fairly cancel at such short notice,” Abrams told POLITICO. While another colleague tried to soften Abrams’s implication he had better things to do than offer counsel to the White House, saying he thought Abrams was out of town. In fact, Abrams said he was scheduled to speak to the AJC along with Jordanian former diplomat Marwan Muasher.
The Brookings Institution’s Robert Kagan who co-chairs the Egypt working group, wanted to go but couldn’t get a flight back from California in time to make it.
Apparently the list of attendees caused BBC Journalist Kim Ghattas to tweet “no Arabs?” Incredible, isn’t it? Not only no Egyptian Americans, but no Arabs. We just don’t really get it, do we? Do we ever even try to understand any foreign policy issue through the lens of anyone other than the US and Israel?