Friday, February 11, 2011

The Latest from Egypt

Hosni Mubarak has apparently left the scene as Egyptian military authorities have assumed power. What happens next? Below are some articles looking at the current situation from various perspectives, with a focus on Israel, taken from Daily Alert and other sources:

New Poll Reveals Egyptian Views on Protests - David Pollock

A public opinion poll of Egyptians taken by telephone in the midst of the current political upheaval provides an eye-opening perspective on how the Egyptian public is seeing these events. This is not an Islamic uprising. The Muslim Brotherhood is approved by just 15% of Egyptians - and its leaders get barely 1% of the vote in a presidential straw poll. Asked to pick national priorities, only 12% of Egyptians choose sharia (Islamic law) over Egypt's regional leadership, democracy, or economic development. When asked two different ways about the peace treaty with Israel, 37% support it, while 27% oppose it - although a third say they "don't know" or refuse to answer. Only 18% of Egyptians approve either Hamas or Iran. A mere 5% say the uprising occurred because their government is "too pro-Israel." A straw poll asked: Who should be the next President of Egypt? The results - Arab League head Amr Moussa 26%, Omar Suleiman 17%, Hosni Mubarak 16%, Mohammed ElBaradei 3%. The writer is a senior fellow at The Washington Institute and former chief of Near East/South Asia research at the U.S. Information Agency and Department of State. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

Sharansky: Protests Offer Chance to Build New Pact with Arab World - David Horovitz

"If the free world helps the people on the streets, and turns into the allies of these people instead of being the allies of the dictators, then there is a unique chance to build a new pact between the free world and the Arab world," said Natan Sharansky, the dissident icon of the campaign to free Soviet Jewry who now chairs the Jewish Agency, in an interview Friday. "And we, Israel, will be among the beneficiaries, simply because these people will then be dealing with their real problems." "While we continue to be on guard, let's be glad that what's happening now on the Arab street is happening before the Muslim Brothers control the entire Middle East." (Jerusalem Post)

No Overnight Miracles - Shlomo Avineri

It is relatively easy to topple a tyrannical regime, but much harder to establish and maintain a stable democracy. The formation of a democratic regime is not a dramatic, instant event, but rather a long series of processes requiring gradual steps and long-term partnerships of groups opposed to one another, and these things do not happen overnight. Apart from the army, the only effective organization in Egyptian society is the Muslim Brotherhood, but their commitment to democratic processes is not to be taken for granted. It is important to remember that the establishment of a stable democracy is not the inevitable or the only possible outcome of the toppling of Mubarak's regime. The writer, professor of political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, served as director-general of Israel's Foreign Ministry. (Ha'aretz)

The Need for Minds over Hearts in the Egyptian Crisis - Hillel Frisch

Supporting Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman in the current crisis will prevent a Muslim Brotherhood takeover of Egypt and avoid a bloody and protracted Egyptian civil war marked by foreign intervention. The West should support Suleiman and the military both for strategic reasons and out of concern for those demonstrators with democratic ideals who otherwise are likely to fall prey to a far worse fate than the regime they are attempting to overthrow. The writer is a senior research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies and a professor of political science at Bar-Ilan University. (BESA Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)

What the Palestine Papers Reveal - David Horovitz

If the Palestinian public wills it, the Palestine Papers episode could mark the beginning of the honest internalization that the Jews have sovereign rights here - and that maximalist demands for the "right of return," for every inch of disputed territory, for unchallenged control of every holy place, are simply not going to fly. If there is to be a Palestinian state, there will need to be dramatic Palestinian compromise. The Palestine Papers reveal a Palestinian leadership that considers almost all compromise on their side to have been completed in their grudging ostensible tolerance for an Israel in its pre-1967 lines. Their positions show no notice of Jewish claims in Judea and Samaria, and scant awareness of the fact that Israeli security concerns have been heightened by decades of conflict and by the impact of the Palestinian strategic resort to terrorism in the Second Intifada. Furthermore, the transcripts negate the conventional wisdom that the details of a permanent deal are essentially clear; and that all that is needed is the mutual will to sign off on them and proceed to implementation. Actually, the two sides, as revealed in these papers, are far, far apart on the core issues of border demarcation, settlements and Jerusalem. Abbas should be telling his people that the Jews do actually have sovereign claims here; that there's going to have to be territorial compromise; that so long as his people insist on the "right of return," they will never gain the right to statehood; that those who shriekingly reject all talk of compromise are keeping the Palestinians from independence. (Jerusalem Post)

Israel's Never Looked So Good - David Suissa

Calling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict the "Middle East peace process" assumes there are only two countries in the Middle East. While tens of millions of Arabs have been suffering for decades from brutal oppression, the world has obsessed with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As if Palestinians - on whom the world has spent billions and who have rejected one peace offer after another - were the only victims in the Middle East. As if the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has anything to do with the 1,000-year-old bloody conflict between Sunni and Shiite Muslims, or the desire of brutal Arab dictators to stay in power, or the desire of Islamist radicals to bring back the Caliphate. While Israel bashers have scrutinized every flaw in Israel's democracy, they kept silent about the oppression of millions of Arabs throughout the Middle East. Do you ever recall seeing a UN resolution or an international conference in support of Middle Eastern Arabs not named Palestinians? Now that the cesspool of human oppression in the Arab world has been opened for all to see, how bad is Israel's democracy looking? Don't you wish the Arab world had a modicum of Israel's civil society? (Huffington Post)

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