With the political unrest in Egypt intensifying by the day it is important that we think about the implications it could have for the Camp David Accords which established peace between Egypt and Israel in 1978.
Caroline Glick of The Jerusalem Post has certainly given the matter some thought and she is not optimistic. While Glick does not see Hosni Mubarak being overthrown she does think he will soon choose his successor:
But the same observers are quick to note that whoever Mubarak selects to succeed him will not be the beneficiary of such strong support from Egypt’s security state. And as the plight of Egypt’s overwhelmingly impoverished citizenry becomes more acute, the regime will become increasingly unstable. Indeed, its overthrow is as close to a certainty as you can get in international affairs.
And as we now see, all of its possible secular and Islamist successors either reject outright Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel or owe their political power to the support of those who reject the peace with the Jewish state. So whether the Egyptian regime falls next week or next year or five years from now, the peace treaty is doomed.
Let us not forget that there was a time when Egypt was Israel’s greatest enemy. They thrice went to war during Israel’s first quarter century. Of course, that can be easily forgotten considering Israel and Egypt have been at peace for a period longer than when they were adversaries.
However, just because Israel and Egypt have been at peace for more than three decades doesn’t mean they are friends. When I spent a good part of the summer of 1988 in Israel, the tenth anniversary of Camp David Accords were approaching. People who talked about Egypt generally said something along the lines of, “We’re at peace but it’s a cold peace.”
Indeed, there have been times during Mubarak’s long reign where it has been downright frigid. In 2002, Egyptian TV broadcast a 41-part mini-series across the Arab world based on the “Protocols of Elder Zion” despite protests from both the United States and Israel. The following year, “Protocols” was put on display next to a Torah in the Library of Alexandria. It was only last month that Al-Liwaa, Al-Islami, an Egyptian government weekly, published an article proclaiming Jews have no right to be in Israel and that Israel will cease to exist by 2025. Earlier this month, Abdullah Al Ash’al, a former Deputy Foreign Minister accused the Mossad of involvement in the bombing of the Alexandria church. While Egypt has not fired a shot at Israel in nearly forty years, the Mubarak regime has been content to tolerate anti-Semitic sentiments and outright hostility towards Israel.
Nevertheless, Mubarak has kept the Camp David Accords in tact. Israel and Egypt are not at war. Yes, Mubarak has governed his people very poorly and he has no one but himself blame for the current state of affairs. But after Mubarak, who can say Egypt won’t rip up the Camp David Accords and go to war with Israel? Couple that with a regime in Iran bent on Israel’s annihilation and we could see the Middle East explode like it never has before. Lord help us.