From Partnership to Deference to Subservience: The Israel-Egypt Relationship

UPDATE 7 pm Israeli time Tuesday:

Ofer Prison near Ramallah--the home of some of the most notorious of Palestinian terrorists.

More Palestinian rioting has taken place during the day in support of the hunger-striking terrorists in Ofer Prison.  IDF soldiers have been wounded near Ramallah and elsewhere. 


Back in the days of Hosni Mubarak, there was a sense that Israel and Egypt were in the same boat–fighting against the terrorism of Hamas.   In this context, whenever conflict arose between Israel and Hamas, Mubarak would pay lip service to the Palestinians but could also be counted on (usually through the efforts of then Egyptian Security Chief Omar Suleiman) to rein in the terrorists in Gaza and bring about a ceasefire.

However, amidst the overthrow of Mubarak and takeover of Egypt by the Muslim Brotherhood, the dynamic between Israel and Egypt radically changed.

It first became apparent last year when Israel refused to take action against Hamas missile attacks from Gaza. If you remember back in March 2012, the Netanyahu government and the IDF used “fear of interfering in the Arab Spring in Egypt” as the excuse for not attacking Hamas. A few months later when another outburst of Hamas missiles rocked southern Israel, the IDF refused to launch a counter-attack citing “fear of upsetting the Egyptian elections.” By August and September, the IDF had become fearful of “destabilizing the new Morsi government.”

President Morsi of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood--now in the catbird's seat in regard to Israel.

In the wake of the November hostilities with Hamas in which Israel was finally forced to act, this deference has astonishingly morphed into subservience.

The “ceasefire” agreement that Israel agreed to in November established Egypt as the guarantor of the security of southern Israel. The idea now seems to be that whenever Hamas violates the “ceasefire”, Israel is supposed to contact Egypt, hat in hand, to try to stop the violations. As we have seen in recent months with the continual attacks on the Gaza border fence by Hamas terrorists, this process of stopping violations is worthless.

Yet Egypt has now parlayed its newly granted power as guarantor of  the “peace” into an unrestricted meddling into Israel’s internal affairs–and, amazingly, Israel is acquiescing to Egyptian demands.

Today alone, there are two new such Egyptian “demands”. First, Egypt is now declaring that Israel must allow “commercial” trucks into Hamas Gaza. Second, Egypt is also asserting that it will mediate between Israel and the PLO regarding Palestinian terrorist prisoners in Israeli jails–and has even sent a delegation to Jerusalem to do so.

What’s next?

Maybe Benjamin Netanyahu should turn to Egypt to help form a new coalition government in Israel. After all, it is Egypt that is increasingly calling the shots in Israel.


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