MENAFN - Arab News
Israel will lose ... but what will Egypt do?
(MENAFN - Arab News) What can the Hebrew state achieve from the current aggression on Gaza? Not much more than the destruction and shedding of more Palestinian blood. Israel cannot impose choices or political concessions, neither on the Palestinians, nor on the Arabs. They have all already offered what they can.
This current aggressive war confirms once again that Israeli leaders still think in the same way as during (in) its bloody stage of establishment and applies the same logic of the 1967 war, which is a logic of overwhelming military superiority.
This logic is supported by the immunity of the internal front, and by always engaging in battle on the territory of the enemy in order to diminish its own human loss and increase the loss of humans among Arabs. While even this logic is eroding slowly, it is eroding in a continuous and cumulative form. Missiles entered the battledfield, and this technology is out of control. Hamas rockets are not annoying, but they are not destructive. The horizon has changed, and tomorrow these rocks will be annoying and destructive, too. Time is not in Israel's interest at all, and the course of the conflict confirms this.
The logic of inflicting war for the sake of war constituted a great deal of pressure on the Arab side, particularly on the Palestinian side. But this pressure is no longer much useful. Israel does not have the elements of a state - neither human, nor economic, nor historical - to be able to rely on a policy of occupation and to perpetuate the war option. In fact, there is no state that can afford such. There is chronic Arab weakness, and there is a sharp Palestinian split. Additionally, there is unlimited and unprecedented Western support, in particular by the US. All of this is true.
But despite that it is in combination with its military oppression, Israel cannot take advantage of all these features politically more than it already has and benefited. It cannot do so because it is governed by the plight of its nature and composition as an occupying power characterized as being racist, aggressive, bloody and brutal. It achieved three peace agreements with Egypt, the Palestinians, and Jordan followed by the Arab initiative, which includes full recognition of Israel by Arabs and normalization of relations if it withdraws to the 1967 borders and allows for an establishment of independent Palestinian state within these limits.
Yet despite the unprecedented, and illegal US immunity and guarantees, Israel lacks sense of security and therefore cannot deal with all these privileges via the logic of a state that respects the law and looks forward to peace. It does not already have this logic, and thus it deals with the Arab concessions and the US guarantees as a cover for more land theft and settlement expansion. Faced with this reality, the horizon is closed for reaching a reasonable and balanced political solution with Israel, and all who think or believe in this possibility are delusional.
What the Hebrew state wants is to impose an impossible equation: A Palestinian quasi-state with temporary borders under Israeli hegemony, to provide cover to the perpetuation of occupation, expansion of settlements and the waiver of Jerusalem.
Otherwise, Israeli wars will continue and the current war confirms this. This war is the first Israeli aggression since the beginning of the Arab Spring. It is an intentional aggression and its timing is the most important justification and the most important of all the excuses echoed by Netanyahu's government. Military commander Ahmed Jabari, who was assassinated as a prelude to aggression, was involved until the moment of his death in indirect negotiations with the Israelis to reach a truce. This was confirmed by Gzirisn Baskin in an article in The New York Times on Saturday.
Baskin is an Israeli, but he is not an official representative, and was the one who managed negotiations with Jabari. He stated in this article that Israel committed a strategic mistake by assassinating Jabari. It is likely that the Netanyahu's government used these negotiations to reassure Jabari and to achieve security breach in order to assassinate him. There is no other explanation. Why did Netanyahu do that? For electoral reasons in next January, and more importantly, to test the new Egyptian leadership that came in a popular revolution in the largest Arab country linked to Israel by peace agreement since more than 30 years.
Israeli aggression puts all Arab Spring countries in front of a new challenge, but the greatest challenge is to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt at the moment. Gaza is located on the northeastern border of Egypt and represents the country's direct gateway to the entire Levant region.
The aggression tells the Egyptians that the peace agreement should remain as a cover, as it was before for the Israeli policies in Palestine now and in the region. The Muslim Brotherhood and other opposition forces were right in their criticism of the foreign policy of the government of former President Hosni Mubarak, particularly his reluctance, which greatly weakened Egypt and almost resulted in its exit of the regional equation. Now the question is: What are they going to do after becoming the ruling party, and how will they face their first real test in the Arab-Israeli conflict? Netanyahu's government chose this timing for aggression so that it is at a critical moment for Egypt's new rulers.
Not only have they been in power for only three months, but the country is going through a severe economic crisis and a raging political crisis about the writing of the Constitution that seems intractable. Egypt needs regional calm, economic aid and stable relations with the US and Europe in order to devote itself to addressing its accumulated internal crises, and thus, it is difficult for President Muhammad Mursi to take risks in such circumstances.
However, he differs from the three presidents who preceded him, Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak. Mursi came to power by the voice of the people, and with great promises. It is obvious that Netanyahu wanted to achieve two goals with one aggressive strike: First, to say to the Israelis that security policies with the Palestinians will not change even with all that changes in the region occurring after the Arab Spring, and that Israel is out of context, and will remain so. He believes that such a position will let him win the elections next January. The second objective, as I pointed out, is to test the commitment of the new leadership of Egypt to the peace agreement at a critical moment, and the real test can only be done in such a moment.
Netanyahu, through his logic, cannot realize that he is venturing by going far in this test. The region is changing, including Egypt, but he is acting according to old accounts. This will make Israel the biggest loser from all this.
The Brotherhood cannot be a copy of the Mubarak regime, which is what Israel is used to. If they do, or act in a manner even close to that, the Brotherhood is risking their political future. It is not required for the Brotherhood to undertake a military adventure, but they can utilize the peace agreement according to the new variables, and reverse the regional equation.
Egypt must not remain hostage to this agreement. It is likely that Israel is the one to be a hostage to this agreement, because it is the greatest beneficiary of it. The peace agreement has a price, and the greatest beneficiary is the first one who should pay the price. The Egyptian leadership must be aware currently that the Israeli aggression embarrasses Egypt, which is trying to emerge from its revolutionary state. This aggression also eases the pressure on the Syrian regime, which is facing a popular revolution. This creates a seemingly surreal scene: Israeli aircraft pounded Gaza at the same moment that Syrian regime planes are tamping Syrian cities. The strangest thing about this is that the daily victims of the Syrian regime are much more than the Palestinians victims of the Israeli aggression.
The current aggression proves what was known before, which is that that the "Arab Spring" is an internal movement. It has nothing to do with what is being echoed by the supporters of the Syrian regime that it is part of the American-Israeli plan to redraw the map of the region, absorbing the "Brotherhood" within this scheme.
If so, why Israel is venturing with such blatant aggression three months after the Brotherhood came to rule Egypt? The fact is that Egypt is the second target in the current war after Gaza. What is the new leadership in Cairo going to do?
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