Peace Agreements Written In Sand
Veteran American media personality Christiane Amanpour of ABC TV taped an interesting interview with His Excellency Sameh Shoukry, Egypt’s Ambassador to the USA.
She led him along politely with mild “who-is-in-charge” and “where-is-Mubarak” type queries, gradually leading to questions about how the new Egypt will relate to the presently-strong ties with the USA, and more importantly to us: would Egypt continue to uphold the 30-something-years peace agreement with Israel? Amanpour obviously expected this issue to be the crowning concern of the interview.
The Ambassador wasn’t rattled. He demonstrated his diplomatic mettle. He spoke of the importance to Egypt of continuing firm and friendly US-Egyptian relations (despite Egypt’s horrendous human rights record, it is a major beneficiary of US largesse), and went on to talk of how the close relationship benefits Egypt, including its stability and prosperity.
On the subject Israel-Egyptian relations, the Ambassador was adamant that these would not change. He went so far as to say that “[ … Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel] is a main element of Egyptian foreign policy”, and that it had benefitted both countries.
In my daydreams, Israel and the Palestinians have signed a peace accord. The Middle East blooms. Prosperity comes to the region. Peace at last.
Then I wake up to discover that Mahmoud Abbas is no longer President of the Palestinian National Authority. (For argument’s sake, let’s imagine there was a revolution, and that he was deposed – sound familiar?)
Shall I expect that the next day Christiane Amanpour will be interviewing some other high-up Palestinian and asking worriedly if the Palestine-Israel peace accord is in danger of collapse?
Is the question also relevant to Israel-Jordan relations?
Why should Israel’s peace accords with Arab states be so fragile and shaky, so seemingly subject to revoke if leadership there changes? It is an issue that Israel’s leaders must consider before rushing to sign away rights and achievements, before signing on the dotted line of documents that are hardly worth – a hill of hummus beans.
Jonathan Danilowitz is a Contributing Writer for The Propagandist living in Israel