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A Not-So-Happy Anniversary

By Michael Freund
3/27/2009, 12:00 AM


Egypt has long tried to keep Israel at arms length, treating the Jewish state coldly and never truly embracing the idea of a warm and friendly peace
Israel this week celebrated 30 years since the signing of the Israel-Egypt peace treaty, holding a series of diplomatic receptions, public exhibitions and museum events to mark the occasion.

And just how did Egypt choose to commemorate the forging of peace with the Jewish state?

Well, they didn't.

As the Jerusalem Post reported yesterday, "In Egypt, on the other hand, not much fireworks or fanfare is planned. There is "nothing official that I know of" going on in Cairo to commemorate the March 26 anniversary, Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday. He said he did not know why."

Well, I'll be glad to tell you why: Egypt has long tried to keep Israel at arms length, treating the Jewish state coldly and never truly embracing the idea of a warm and friendly peace.

Whether it is undermining Israel at various international bodies, or allowing Hamas to smuggle weapons freely from Sinai into Gaza, the Egyptian regime of autocratic President Hosni Mubarak has never missed a chance for diplomatic or security mischief-making.

Nonetheless, that didn't seem to stop US President Barack Obama this week from citing the Israel-Egypt peace treaty as a source of inspiration in his efforts to advance a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

What an unfortunate remark to make!! Instead of pressing the Egyptians (who receive $2 billion in foreign aid annually from the American taxpayer) to forge a true and lasting peace, and to play a positive and constructive role in the region, Obama has essentially let them off the hook.

But let Obama say what he wishes. Cairo's failure to mark the anniversary of the peace treaty this week speaks far more loudly and compellingly about the real nature of Egypt's intentions.