What the Egypt protests mean for Mideast peace

Israelis are worried that neighboring Egypt could become a new Iran. But what does the uprising mean for Israel's negotiations with the Palestinians?

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu worries that whoever replaces Mubarak's regime in Egypt will be harder to live with.
(Image credit: Corbis)

Reverberations from Egypt's pro-democracy uprising are being felt across the Middle East — and perhaps nowhere more acutely than in Israel. The expected departure of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak would deprive Israel of one of its most stable allies in the region, and a new government might not uphold the 1979 Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty. Or worse, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned, Egypt could turn into a new Iran. Will these fears prompt Israel to return to the negotiating table with its even-closer neighbors in Gaza and the West Bank?

Israel has to step it up: If Egypt's uprising has taught us anything, it's that Israel is on its own, says Smadar Perry in The Jerusalem Post. The next Egyptian leader won't be as helpful regarding the Palestinians, and the Obama team's tepid "anti-Mubarak agenda" proves it doesn't understand "the code of tradition in our part of the world." Israel has to drop its "delusional" avoidance of making peace with our Palestinian neighbors. "No one will do the job for us."

"Return to negotiations now"

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The peace process is on ice: The "understandably twitchy" Netanyahu government won't embrace the peace process now, says "Clausewitz" in The Economist. "The turmoil in Egypt is only entrenching" Israelis in their current positions, and Netanyahu believes there's no point in cutting a deal with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, since he may not be able to make it stick. Besides, with Iran's nukes and Hezbollah's "bloodless coup" in Lebanon, Israel has bigger worries.

"Feeling understandably twitchy"

Israel has a shot at a bigger peace: Israel isn't the only nervous Mideast government, says Aluf Benn in Foreign Affairs. And if Israelies can overcome Netanyahu's "siege mentality," Egypt's woes could provide an opportunity not just to forge new, mutually beneficial peace deals with Abbas and the equally nervous leader of Syria, but also to "take part in the rebuilding of the Middle Eastern community" by "proposing a serious blueprint" for region-wide peace.

"Overcoming fear and anxiety in Tel Aviv"

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