An official at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has warned that the Arab Spring revolutions might lead to the emergence of “regimes that are hostile towards the Israelis”. Executive Director Howard Kohr stressed to his organisation’s conference “the importance of Egypt’s commitment to the peace agreement with Tel Aviv”, so as not to be pushed into military confrontations with the Israeli army.
Despite the fact that the emergence of a new generation that aspires to democracy in the Arab world is a cause for celebration, “we should not fail to condemn anti-Semitic policies under the guise of the popular will”, said Mr Kohr. “AIPAC must urge policy-makers to do everything they can to ensure that Egypt adheres to the peace treaty with Israel.” This period of promising change in the Arab world, he added, is a challenge for Israel.
AIPAC is at the forefront of the Israel Lobby in the US; its Executive Director told the conference that the former Egyptian regime played a role in bringing prosperity to the Israelis. Explaining what he meant, Kohr pointed out that Israel’s security infrastructure, which allowed for economic prosperity, is now threatened: “Over the past three decades, the outbreak of war between Arabs and Israelis without the participation of Egypt was almost impossible.” The United States and Israel have benefited in the last thirty years from a joint strategic interest, which is the absence of war in the Middle East involving Israel and Egypt; Kohr noted that the situation is now different after the fall of the Mubarak regime in Cairo: “What should have been out of the question now has potential.”
According to Kohr, the issue of Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel should be dealt with as a priority of US foreign policy if Middle East stability is to be maintained. “Although we hope that the political transformation in Egypt will lead to a Western-oriented democratic system,” he said, “the truth is that the best organised political force in Egypt is the Muslim Brotherhood, which does not recognise Israel and calls for the abolition of the peace treaty.”
Kohr, whose father was a member of the Haganah, the Jewish militia held responsible in part for the massacre and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1948 when Israel was created on Palestinian land, said that Egypt’s commitment to the peace agreement requires the blockade of Gaza to be continued, no rapprochement between Cairo and Tehran, and the maintenance of the Suez Canal’s integrity. He didn’t rule out that the possibility of military confrontation between Israel and Egypt, if the latter opts to end 30 years of peace. “There can be no escape from the strategic effects that will result from this; Israeli and American forces should be considering how to meet possible Egyptian threats.”