Monday, March 30, 2009

"Egypt . . . has been the foremost obstacle to the rush to normalisation with the Hebrew state"

In this Al-Ahram piece the author answers "six common accusations levelled at the peace treaty" with Israel, essentially laying to rest fears that the peace treaty led to any meaningful peace. Here are his answers to the last two accusations:
[...] According to the fifth charge, the peace agreement embodied a style of managing the conflict with Israel that conflicted with the duty of armed resistance. Now, the fact is that the proponents of peace and negotiations -- Egypt above all -- have never rejected the right to resist foreign aggression and occupation. From the purely historical standpoint, Egypt was not only the party that sacrificed most in the struggle against Israel, it was also the one that inflicted the greatest damage upon Israel. In the history of Arab resistance against Israel, whether by means of war, popular uprising, suicide bombings or terrorist acts, Israel sustained no losses as extensive as those incurred in the 1973 War or in any of its wars with Egypt before that. The issue, here, should not be resistance versus settlement, but rather how to best wield the arts of diplomacy, war, politics and propaganda towards the realisation of a specific aim, which is the liberation of occupied Arab territory. It has been proven without a shadow of a doubt that the Egyptian course of negotiation leading to a peace treaty was the most successful in this regard. More importantly, while Egypt has been freed from the shame of foreign occupation, the proponents of the other course remain without negotiations, without a settlement and, indeed, without resistance.

The last charge against the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty that I would like to address here is that which maintains that it turned Egypt into a US dependency. The contention could only come from someone who is not quite mentally stable, or that has never read history, or that does not know the true nature of Egypt, the Egyptian people and the Egyptian government. Clearly, no rational person would fail to take the world's sole superpower into account. But all that country's economic and political clout has not prevented Egypt from casting its vote contrary to that of the US in 83 per cent of issues that came to a vote in the UN (compare this to Israel's record of voting with the US in 87 per cent of the cases). History is full of instances of Egypt's ability to stand firm in the face of US demands. Cairo refused to cooperate with the American attack against Libya in the 1980s and it refused to exert pressure on the Palestinians during the negotiations that took place in the 1990s. Indeed, Egypt, which signed a peace agreement with Israel, has been the foremost obstacle to the rush to normalisation with the Hebrew state, keeping normalisation as a major card in the negotiating process between the Arabs and Israel, in perpetual defiance of Washington's wishes. Nor is it a secret that all the "advice" given by Washington regarding domestic change was not heeded. In fact, those who hold that Egypt is a US dependency would do well to study the entire chapter of the past eight years when Cairo was at constant loggerheads with the Bush administration. Moreover, even then Egypt remained the largest recipient of arms and money from Washington apart from Israel. This was the product of wisdom and skill, which would be useful topics for further discussion on another occasion.
That spells it out, doesn't it?

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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