Latest News:  
Beijing   Sunny    21 / 10   City Forecast


Egypt-Israel crisis likely to ripple through Middle East

By Huang Peizhao (People's Daily Overseas Edition)

16:15, September 16, 2011

Edited and Translated by People's Daily Online

Currently, the fermentation of the attack to the Israeli Embassy in Cairo has put the Egypt-Israel relations in the world's spotlight. Media in the Middle East believe that the downturn in Egypt-Israel relations will surely pose a negative impact on the situation in the Middle East.

Historically, Egypt and Israel were once enemies. Egypt was a major player standing by the Arab side in the four Middle East wars. In the Cold War, supported by the Soviet Union, Egypt fought fiercely against Israel which was suported by the United States. Both countries did not stop the war until the "Camp David Accords" was signed by former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin in the late 1970s, which opened the first door to peace in the Middle East. Egypt later became the first Arab country to establish diplomatic ties with Israel.

However, the development of Egypt-Israel relations has not been smooth following the reconciliation. The bilateral ties have always been in the state of "cold peace" during the past decades. The exchanges between the two countries were just at official level, with only a few mutual visits between high-level officials. Many Egyptians are still hostile to Israel and unable to psychologically accept Israel. Despite that, as an ally of the United States in the Middle East, former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak had always firmly followed a moderate policy toward Israel, which objectively built a security shield for Israel.

The dramatic changes in Egypt's political situation in early 2011 have overhauled its foreign policy. For instance, once the new government took office, it took the strong public opinion into consideration by opening its Rafah border with Gaza that remained closed during the reign of Mubarak. And it also improved the ties with Iran that it had long ignored. However, it deliberately estranges Israel. The moves made by the current Egyptian government aimed at distancing itself from the former government; playing roles in regional affairs, particularly in promoting internal reconciliation of Palestine, showing its status as a major power; and adopting independent diplomatic policies to not follow the steps of the United States and Israel.

Middle East media believed that the attack on the Israeli Embassy in Cairo by Egyptians demonstrated the rising nationalism in Egypt after Mubarak was toppled. One of the attack’s direct consequences is that the narrow diplomatic and strategy space for Israel has been further squeezed, which has deteriorated Israel's geopolitical environment and made its "security barrier" lost.

The problem is worsened by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's frequent visits to Egypt. All this has worsened Israel's surrounding environment which was described by the Israeli media as a "political tsunami". They also worry that the country may be dragged into a new war.

A new war is impossible. Egypt is a big power in the Arab world and Israel is very sensitive and important in the Arab-Israeli conflict. The attack on the Israeli Embassy in Cairo therefore is the most serious diplomatic crisis since the two sides established diplomatic relations. This crisis cannot be controlled between the two, but will certainly spread to the whole Middle East region and may even worries the United States, who will absolutely not allow this crisis to deteriorate or even put it into a war. In fact, the U.S. has exerted much pressure on Egypt to rescue the trapped Jews.

The Egyptian authorities are unlikely to get too close to Israel as 56 percent of Egyptians demand to ban the Camp David Accords, the cornerstone for the Egyptian-Israeli relations. In this sense, Egypt may adopt a more inward and self-serving diplomatic policy, which may influence Egypt’s role of a big power though it meets its domestic demand. Moreover, for the inconsistency of Egypt's policies, they may need a strong driving force which helps to promote the peace between Palestine and Israel.


Leave your comment1 comments

  1. Name

Ahmed M Ibrahim at 2011-09-16117.192.70.*
Egyptians have been victims of their own anti-zionist psychological propaganda since 1948. In fact one of the drawbacks of the Mubarak regime was the Cold Peace between the two countries. Had Egypt utilised the Israeli skills in water conservation, Sinai would have been one of the show pieces of the Egyptian regime. But alas Egypt lost this golden opportunity. Today most of the Egyptians are psychologically ill and they cannot understand the vision and wisdom of late President Anwar Sadat.

Selections for you

  1. Chengdu Motor Show 2011 kicks off

  2. 500 pilgrims permitted to visit relatives in Syria

  3. 178th Munich Oktoberfest to kick off

  4. Cibeles Madrid Fashion Week kicks off

Most Popular


  1. Sincere, practical co-op between China, Africa
  2. Why does US block Palestine's bid for entering UN
  3. Egypt-Israel crisis likely to ripple through Middle East
  4. Debating luxury duties: Up, down or scrapped
  5. China's investments boost US economic recovery
  6. Woman cuts watershed for China’s charities
  7. Food safety supervision overwhelms food crime
  8. China's actions in Libya show diplomatic maturity
  9. Living in Beijing more expensive than New York?
  10. Middle East turbulence not over yet

What's happening in China

The power and glory

  1. 'Enemy of the state' finds no charity
  2. China Telecom to sell iPhone 5
  3. Home prices, inflation irk most Chinese
  4. Guangdong refuse to treat HIV burn victim
  5. Parking fee collector run over, killed

PD Online Data

  1. The Yi ethnic minority
  2. The Salar ethnic minority
  3. The Tu ethnic minority
  4. The Pumi ethnic minority
  5. The Naxi ethnic minority