Israel has felt uneasy about the situation in Egypt since the revolution of January 2011; until now. The serious political conflict between the government and opposition and the chaos in Egypt is a source of relief and satisfaction in Israel, which has never been entirely happy about the people’s democratic choice of a Muslim Brotherhood leadership.
Israelis have not forgotten the role of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Palestinian war of 1948. Brotherhood fighters were the real challenge to the Zionist terror groups in the run-up to Israel’s “Declaration of Independence”, who suffered significant losses at their hands. A Brotherhood offshoot, the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) is, of course, the Israeli occupation’s main adversary.
The fact that Egypt under President Mohamed Morsi is supportive of the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip means that Israel senses a real military, demographic and geographic existential threat, although the Egyptians have said that they will remain committed to the Camp David peace treaty. Israel, therefore, cannot be distanced completely from what is happening in Egypt, as it has most to gain from the ongoing unrest which distracts the attention of the government in Cairo.
It should be borne in mind that even after signing a peace treaty with Anwar Sadat, which was protected by Hosni Mubarak, Israel sabotaged Egypt in many different ways, including espionage, misinformation campaigns and flooding the country with drugs and counterfeit US dollars. If it has been prepared to do such things to a friendly government, to what lengths will it go against one run by a movement it regards as an enemy?
Moreover, Israel has sought to exhaust Egypt’s natural resources, especially gas. The people of Egypt now suffer from shortages although Israel continues to enjoy a cheap supply courtesy of an agreement put in place by the ousted Mubarak regime despite recent discoveries of undersea gas reserves of its own.
Analysts in Israel predict serious political and economic problems for Egypt as it struggles to cope with internal unrest and external threats such as the Ethiopian dam project (which Israel has been pushing for years) which will affect the flow of the River Nile. Bloodshed and bankruptcy may follow.
Israel has every reason, therefore, to feel satisfied at the Egyptian government’s present difficulties. No doubt the government in Tel Aviv will be watching the demonstrations planned by the opposition in Egypt on June 30 with great interest. It certainly has an awful lot to gain from Mohamed Morsi’s losses.
The author is an Egyptian writer. This article is a translation from the Arabic which appeared in Shorouk Newspaper, 24 June, 2013
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.