|Pros and cons of Egyptian mediation on Palestine||
After eight days of fighting between Israel and the Islamic resistance movement Hamas, Egypt again assumed the role of the mediator between the two sides.
Experience shows that Cairo is always the best mediator in the Palestine-Israel dispute, and this is due to Egypt’s special position in the region. Egypt is regarded as the intersection of Western and regional interests, and Israel has always tried to benefit from the Egyptian government’s more conciliatory approach toward the West, especially during the years former dictator Hosni Mubarak was in power. This is expected to continue since Egypt-Israel ties have not yet experienced a significant change, despite the fact that the masses have been calling on the Egyptian government to sever its ties with Israel since the victory of the popular revolution.
Hamas has very close connections with the current Egyptian government and the ruling Muslim Brotherhood, which is the parent organization of Hamas. For several years, Hamas has had an office in Cairo, and Egyptians have always viewed the group as one of the main resistance organizations fighting for the Palestinian cause. Egypt’s capability to guarantee the full implementation of the ceasefire provided more proof that it is the best mediator.
Gaza’s border with Egypt, which is the people’s only access point to the outside world, also gives Cairo a special position in this regard. In addition, Egypt enjoys a good reputation in the Arab world. Compared to the Arab monarchies and dictatorships, the country can say it is a budding democracy. Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has repeatedly condemned Israel for committing atrocities against innocent civilians and illegally expanding settlements. For the Arab masses, this makes him a good choice to assume the role of a mediator.
Shortly after the latest conflict in Gaza began, Israel came to the conclusion that the continuation of the battle would seriously jeopardize its existence. However, the Israelis were embarrassed to declare this publicly and thus they again turned to the Egyptians. In fact, it was Israel and not Hamas that proposed the truce, and Egypt was the channel the Israelis used to accomplish the task.
Egypt’s mediation has also had negative effects. The masses in the Muslim world expect Morsi to pressure Israel and to stop applying double standards toward the Zionist regime. Otherwise, Morsi will face a new wave of popular protests, not only in Egypt but also in other Arab countries.
Jafar Qannadbashi is an expert in African politics based in Tehran.
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