Choice of New Envoys Shows Egypt’s Bark Worse than its Bite
Egypt has promoted its consul in Eilat to the post of ambassador to Israel, a sign that it does not want to shake the diplomatic boat too much.
Career diplomat Atef Salem el-Ahl will replace Yasser Reda.
The new Muslim Brotherhood’s tough talk against Israel may be more for domestic consumption, while practicality overcomes verbosity.
Anti-Israel sentiment has been running at a fever pitch since the Arab Spring uprising against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who was replaced by a military regime and succeeded by the Islamic Muslim Brotherhood party in elections.
President Mohammed Morsi said during the election campaign he never would visit Jerusalem and that Egypt does not need the peace treaty with Israel.
However, the economic and diplomatic fallout of deteriorating relations with Israel could be disastrous for Cairo, which is dependent on trade, especially gas exports, and also on American support and aid. Washington has quietly warned Egypt that snubbing Israel would not be in its best interests.
Another sign that Egypt is calming down from its rough and tough face vis-a-vis Israel is its withdrawal of tanks from the Sinai, whose presence was a violation of the 1979 treaty that requires Israeli agreement for increasng a military presence in the area. Egypt said it had brought in the tanks to fight terrorists, who have effectively ruled the area since Mubarak’s ouster.