This is from Gershon Baskin’s latest column in The Jerusalem Post, “Encountering Peace: Encountering revolutions.” (He is co-CEO of the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information.)
The future of Israel is not linked to the corrupt, nondemocratic regimes we call “moderate,” but to the masses of people who take to the streets demanding rights.
…. My heart is with the Egyptian people facing an autocratic regime, whose leaders have denied them basic freedoms and pillaged the wealth of Egypt, transferring much of it to bank accounts abroad and living in palaces overlooking the Nile while millions of citizens live on less than $2 a day.
At the same time, like all Israelis, I feel fear and concern – what will be the future of the peace between our countries? Even though the peace has been cold, it has been stable and has removed existential threats.
I have been in Egypt dozens of times. I have walked the streets of Cairo and Alexandria, where the main demonstrations are taking place. I have never felt threatened or afraid to travel in that country. I have many Egyptian friends from academia, government and the security forces. These people have always demonstrated loyalty to and admiration for the Mubarak regime. In past visits to Cairo, I did witness a few demonstrations against Israel, but they were small – less than 100 people.
But it is quite clear that peace between the Egyptian and Israeli people never emerged. The masses in Egypt hate Israel, and identify strongly with its enemies. But this too is a relatively new phenomenon, deeply influenced by Al-Jazeera and other Arab media, with their pro-Islamic, pro-Hamas positions.
In the minds of the common Egyptian, Israel is a great enemy which continues to deny their Palestinian brothers and sisters their dignity and freedom, threatens the Aksa Mosque, passes racist legislation and, together with the United States, controls the wealth of the world.
Inspired by the people of Tunisia, the Egyptian masses took to the streets. The Mubarak regime has greatly improved the macroeconomic situation, but while the GDP grows steadily, the poor masses become even poorer, while the rich gain more wealth. … Click here to read his entire column.