February 6, 2011 The Implications For Israel of Events in Egypt

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A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

February 6, 2011 The Implications For Israel of Events in Egypt

We do not yet know how the events in Egypt will end. However, it is looking more and more like the end result will be a continuation of the regime dominated by the army, with additional trappings of democracy. I could be wrong, and things may still change, but without a clear leader its not clear to me how much more the protesters will achieve beyond getting Mubarak to leave office sooner or later. The long term trends are clear however, either now or later the Arab world will not remain the only major region of the world without democratic nations.

The implications for Israel, are clear, but totally contradictory. On one side, are all of those who said Israel cannot give up land for peace (since we can never know what will happen to the Arab regime in power). We already have proof of that danger with the rise of Hamas. Now with the fear the same thing might happen in Egypt, Israel cannot afford to give up real assets. As such, land for peace that may be passing stage.

The other side of the argument says the events in Egypt prove we cannot continue forever with a cold peace; a peace that exists between Israel and some of its neighbors regimes and not the people. The only way to turn the cold peace into one that is warmer, is to reach a final status agreement with the Palestinians, and now is the time to do it.  Unfortunately, they are both right. The ultimate answer comes down to whether you believe the Israel-Arab fight is ultimately a religious fight that can never be solved, or a nationalist fight that can be solved through compromise. I have always feared it's the former, but have been and remain unwilling to accept a future with no hope. 

The Galant affair seems to have come to an end, with the announcement that Major-General Gantz will be the next Chief of Staff. I do not know enough about either of the Generals to be able to judge them. However, the fact that Barak wanted Galant and not Gantz, is enough to make me happy that Gantz will be the next chief of staff. Defense Minister Barak has become the least trusted Israeli leader in a long time.

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