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GAZA/ The role of Egypt and of the Muslim Brotherhood in the crisis

November Fri 16, 2012

Bombing by Israel in Gaza  (Infophoto)  Bombing by Israel in Gaza (Infophoto)

An Iranian Fajr 5 missile came from the Gaza Strip and hit Tel Aviv. There were no casualties or injuries, but the challenge to the Jewish state by the Palestinians sparked a high alert level, causing the Israeli defense minister, Ehud Barak, to threaten the Palestinians, announcing that they “will pay the price for the launching of rockets at Tel Aviv”. According to General Carlo Jean, analyst and military expert, “the point of no return would be reached only if Egypt decides to join the conflict. A march by the Army of Cairo into the Sinai Peninsula would unleash war throughout the Middle East, but the U.S. would never allow that. The real risk is rather that Assad might take advantage of the 500 thousand Palestinian refugees in his country to launch a third Intifada and extend the Syrian conflict to the State of Israel”.

General Jean, is what we are seeing between the Israelis and Palestinians a real war or just initial skirmishes?
More than a war, it is a series of actions and reactions in which both parties want to maintain a certain reputation and image in the eyes of their international supporters. It is very unlikely that this will translate into a real armed conflict.

Still, yesterday the Palestinians launched an Iranian missile on Tel Aviv...
The result was to provoke an even harsher reaction from Israel. Benjamin Netanyahu’s government eliminated the military commander of Hamas, Sheikh Ahmed Al-Jabari, in recent days. The reaction of the Palestinian party was very aggressive to keep their own supporters united.

Therefore, you exclude the possibility of further consequences?
I do not rule it out a priori, but it depends neither on Israel nor Hamas, but on Egypt and Turkey. The danger for Israel is not so much Hamas or Hezbollah, but is the fact that Egypt might change its attitude towards them, and in particular, reopen the questions of the Camp David peace treaty of 1978 between Menachem Begin and Anwar al –Sadat.

Would that be the beginning of a war?
Without Egypt you cannot have a war in the Middle East, with Egypt you can. Cairo is still very dependent on the West, highly integrated with the U.S., and in need of aid from Washington. Turkey, too, cannot go too far. I do not see the grave risks of a complete escalation. I think it will remain a local dispute.

Today, however, Egypt is governed by the Muslim Brotherhood. Is there a risk that the country will react differently from the past?



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