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Buffalo Springfield once sang, "There's something happening here, and what it is ain't exactly clear" -- which would provide an excellent analysis about Egypt's sudden fondness for the Sharon government in Israel. After warning Palestinians earlier this month that the Sharon government afforded them the best chance for a lasting peace, the official government news service editorialized that negative attitudes towards Israel in Egypt should be shunned:
Egyptian-Israeli relations occupy an important place in Egypt's foreign policy and the first serious signs of openness in [Egyptian-Israeli] relations that we are now observing are important. ...
In addition, the development of relations with Israel and interest in [these relations] can open a window [of opportunity] that will free Egyptian-Israeli relations from any form of reliance upon [Egypt's] relations with the U.S. It is not natural, necessary, or essential for relations with Israel to be influenced by [Egypt's] relations with the U.S. Namely, we hope that [Egypt's] relations with Israel will be strong, self-sufficient and completely independent from relations with the U.S. ...
Objective analysis on this matter cannot lead to any other conclusion. It is time to drop the negative attitudes towards Israel, and relations with it. The basic value of the peace accord between Egypt and Israel lies in the fact that it expunges the term 'prohibition' or 'taboo,' which was created in the past by Arab policies towards Israel, and which turned relations with Israel into an abomination that could not be allowed.
Not only does the editorial (translated by MEMRI) scold Egyptians for negative attitudes towards Israel, but also announces to other Arab nations that Egypt will not respond to their pressure to downgrade its relationship with the Israelis. That's quite a striking statement and a massive turnaround for Hosni Mubarak, who had shown little but the most cursory adherence to the 1979 peace treaty between the two nations.
Why the change? Four weeks ago, people speculated that Mubarak was seriously ill when he had some sort of collapse in Parliament. Mubarak seemed to recover normally and the Egyptian press chalked it up to a cold, his antibiotics, and Ramadan fasting. However, either he may be more ill than disclosed or the experience has him thinking about how to end the Mubarak era in the Middle East.Sphere It View blog reactions
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Tracked on December 11, 2004 10:26 AM
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