As the world focuses attention on Egypt, Syria, and Iran, there has been no coverage of the impact of the so-called “Arab Spring” on Israel.
The spiritual leader of Egypt’s new Islamist President recently declared that the new Muslim Brotherhood administration lays claim to all of Israel and Jerusalem. Egypt’s President Morsi is on record as wanting to re-examine the Camp David Peace Accords: This will undoubtedly lead to rupture between Israel and Egypt.
While Egypt transitions under the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas has been busy bombarding Israel with missiles. Meanwhile, Hamas is flexing its muscles because they now have a patron in control of Egypt. Where Mubarak’s Egypt kept Hamas under control the Muslim Brotherhood sees Hamas as a kindred spirit and will support their war against Israel.
These challenges are a full plate for Israel but Israel’s security challenges are more numerous. In Syria, either Assad or Al-Qaeda will come out the victor. Both pose serious problems for Israel.
Then there is a belligerent Turkey and a bellicose Iran, which inches closer to attaining nuclear weapons.
Faced with these real threats Israel could certainly use an American presence it can count on. Today, the United States is seen as a weak player in the region. Its role in deposing Mubarak sent a message that staunch American allies better watch their backs: One day your friend can turn into your enemy.
What would a strong American Administration do?
In Egypt it would lay down red lines on issues important to the United States and Israel. The United States should link continued financial support (which Egypt desperately needs) to Egypt living up to the Camp David Accords, to Egypt keeping Hamas under control, and to fulfilling its obligation to provide Israel and Jordan with natural gas.
Israel can and will defend itself but should not have to do it alone.