January 29, 2011

Netanyahu Orders Silence Over Egypt

From The Associated Press:
Israel's prime minister ordered government spokesmen to keep silent Saturday on anti-government protests in neighboring Egypt. Security officials nonetheless expressed concern the violence could threaten ties with its important ally and spread to the Palestinian Authority.

Two Israeli officials said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered all government spokesmen not to comment on the mass riots in Egypt, where protesters are demanding President Hosni Mubarak resign after nearly 30 years in power. Both officials were speaking on condition of anonymity.

"There is a great concern about what is happening in Egypt," one senior diplomatic official said. "We are following very closely the events and are analyzing them as they occur."

The officials said they expect Mubarak to survive the unrest but that it could damage ties with Israel if the country's popular opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, makes gains.

Egypt was the first Arab country to reach peace with Israel three decades ago. It remains one of Israel's most important allies by acting as a bridge to the wider Arab world.

It is experiencing the fiercest anti-government protests in years, threatening to destabilize Mubarak's regime.

The Israeli security officials, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said they were worried that violence might spread to Gaza, the West Bank, and possibly to its other ally in the Arab world, Jordan.

Israel and Egypt imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip after the Islamic militant group Hamas seized control in bloody street battles from the rival Palestinian Fatah party in 2007. Israeli security officials on Saturday said they are worried Gaza militants might take advantage of the chaos and breach the border with Gaza.

The Egyptian protesters are raging over the government's neglect of poverty, unemployment and rising prices.

Mubarak took power in the wake of the assassination of Anwar Sadat, the Egyptian leader who reached peace with Israel. Mubarak has preserved that agreement, turning himself into a force of moderation and Western bulwark in a region where Islamic radicals have gained increasing strength.

Eli Shaked, a former Israeli Ambassador to Egypt to Channel 10 TV Saturday that if Mubarak's reign is destabilized, radical Egyptian Islamists could fill the void.

"It's good that Israel is keeping quiet, but there is no doubt that what is happening in Egypt is not good for Israeli interests," Shaked said. "It will only be a matter of time before a leader of the revolution arises and he will come from the Muslim Brotherhood, they are the ones that will take advantage of the situation," Shaked said.

Palestinian officials in the West Bank and Gaza refused to comment.


  1. For how many decades has Israel been afforded time to learn how to be a good neighbor?

  2. Israel will try to use the M/B for an excuse.
    Egypt will not become an Islamist State like Iran or even Iraq.
    Mubarak used the M/B as a fear card for decades.
    All dictators fabricate a shadow enemy.

    Israel fears that their own Arab Arc is tightening on them.

    Jordan is also a revolutionary candidate.
    Lebanon is a daily surprise.

    Not to mention the Palestinian situation.
    Especially after the Palestine Papers have come out.

    The fuses are lit.

    Beware of false flags.

  3. Israel is already using MB as its excuse to keep down the Palestinians. Suppressing one people (Egyptians) purely to suppress another (Palestinians) - what a beacon of democracy in the Middle East! I also doubt that Israel will resort to provoking a diversionary conflict - the backlash would prove overpowering. Israel really does appear to be out of options for Egypt, as silence does little besides expose its maniacal policy.

  4. If Israel thought that the whole exterior status quo would last forever, then they were gravely mistaken.
    The only option they have, which is probably the same as the U.S.'s.

    Try to bring "their new General" into the running.

    I am sure they have already picked one out.

    But, will the streets accept the chosen one this time?

  5. Parts of Israel anyway, and the world generally agrees that it has erred in this thinking. If a two-state solution were somehow reached in the next few years, I would think Israel will receive a worse deal than it would in the 20 years before. So the situation could be that bad, with Netanyahu sticking right in the middle.

    Egypt can break so many ways, but the opposition isn't going to fall for any tricks - just like the Tunisians. All this talk of reform may pan out, but because of the Egyptian opposition, not Obama's niceties.

    Barring a drastic change in the situation - a U.S. approved coup for instance - it's looking like revolution or bust.

  6. Israel may be forced to go back to the 67 borders.

    I agree about the coup.

    As you say it is now in the hands of the street.