Monday, November 27, 2006

Lessons From The Egyptian "Peace Treaty"

Israel is supposed to make peace with the PA and facilitate the creation of a Palestinian state. If we look at the aftermath of 'peace' with Egypt, maybe we can get an idea of just what Israel has to look forward to once a Palestinian state is created.

Daniel Pipes takes a look:
  • In a recent poll of one thousand Egyptians, 92% said that they consider Israel to be an enemy state. Only 2% responded that they saw Israel as "a friend to Egypt."

  • One of the most popular songs in Egypt is entitled "I Hate Israel."

  • In Egypt there have been terrorist attacks against visiting Israelis.

  • Egypt's leading democracy movement, Kifaya, recently collected a million signatures on a petition demanding the annulment of the March 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty.

  • The Egyptian government has permitted large quantities of weapons to be smuggled into Gaza to use against Israeli border towns. It is estimated that as much as 90% of PLO and Hamas explosives come from Egypt.

  • According to the Congressional Research Service, despite having no apparent enemies and being short on resources, Egypt has purchased $6.5 billion worth of foreign weapons in the years 2001-04, more than any other state in the Middle East. In contrast, the Israeli government bought only $4.4 billion worth during that period and the Saudi one $3.8 billion.

  • Egypt is the third largest purchaser of arms in the developing world--surpassed only by China and India. It has the tenth largest standing army in the world, well over twice the size of Israel's.
Besides the obvious signs of the failure of the peace treaty with Egypt, Pipes finds at least 2 ways that the peace treaty did actual harm to Israel:
  • The treaty opened the American arsenal and made it possible for Egypt to purchase the latest weaponry. For the first time in the the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, an Arab armed force may have reached parity with its Israeli counterpart.

  • The treaty may have actually created an increase in anti-Zionism. Pipes lived for about three years in Egypt during the 1970s, before Sadat's dramatic trip to Jerusalem in late 1977, and believes that Egyptians back then showed relatively little interest in Israel and rarely discussed her. However, many Egyptians saw the treaty as a betrayal and there was a major increase in anti-Zionism.
Remember how at the time everyone hailed the signing of this peace treaty as a historic turning point?

If we want to get an idea of what a Palestinian state would look like, would it really end up being so much different than Egypt?

According to Pipes, in Egypt we see a pattern that:
was replicated in Jordan, where the 1994 treaty with Israel soured popular attitudes. To a lesser extent, the 1993 Palestinian accords and even the aborted 1983 Lebanon treaty prompted similar responses. In all four of these cases, diplomatic agreements prompted a surge in hostility toward Israel.
According to Pipes, the 'peace' that exists between Israel and Egypt today--which amounts to the absence of active warfare--is no better that what has existed between Israel and Syria for decades. While there may be nothing on paper, Syria does not have American weapons either.

Which raises the question: if the PA is getting money from the West and the US is considering bolstering Fatah with weapons now--how much more funding and weapons would an actual Palestinian state demand?

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