Luis Luque Álvarez • email@example.com
A CubaNews translation. Edited by Walter Lippmann.
“The dramatic events of recent days raise the need to remove the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the daily agenda as soon as possible,” Israeli president Shimon Peres said on Sunday in reference to the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia.
Well said, except belatedly. For decades on end the Israelis chose to sink into a disturbing idleness and put off “until later” the settlement of the problems facing a people whose land they keep occupied and whom they can’t just wish away; a people not unlike the citizens of Israel, with their own human drama and natural aspirations.
Indeed, Israel didn’t move a finger. After all, if they were on such good terms with as huge an Arab neighbor as Egypt, who cares if others should kick up a little fuss?
Tel Aviv relaxed, confident that there would be eternal peace in the house next door, with whose dwellers a peace treaty had been signed in Camp David, U.S.A., in 1978. Since then, Egypt has meant fuel and good business; thousands of Israelis spend their summer vacation in the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh and, most importantly, Cairo keeps a tight, efficient hold on its borders with Palestine’s Gaza Strip, ruled by the Islamic Resistance Movement (HAMAS) –not exactly sympathetic toward Israel– since it was elected by the Palestinians in 2006.
But, alas, things change so fast in this world that everything seems to indicate that Hosni Mubarak’s mandate will not see the end of 2011, judging by his personal assurances that he won’t join the presidential race next September. Therefore, Israel will no longer have Mubarak’s faithful ear at hand. Someone else will take over with a different set of rules, albeit some like the Muslim Brotherhood –a Sunni Islamic group allegedly committed to the peaceful defense of all Arab causes that enjoys great popularity in Tutankhamen’s land– has made an appeal to rethink the Camp David Accords which among other things ushered in a peace treaty and gave ships of Israel free passage through the Suez Canal linking the Red Sea with the Mediterranean.
What’s funny now that the Egyptians take to the streets to voice their demands in demonstrations that the U.S. and Europe call a “surprise” is that Tel Aviv, despite its geographical closeness, holds to be no less astounded at what should have been foreseen long, long ago: that the political situation in Egypt could simply change, and it would have been better to have no unresolved matters with the Arab world when that happened. Even the Camp David Accords stated that the process to create a Palestinian State would take less than five years and the talks to that effect would be based on Resolution 242 of the U.N. Security Council that demands Israel’s withdrawal from all territories seized in the 1967 war.
But the truth is that all along these 33 years the Israelis failed to see a sound ally for peace in Egypt and amused themselves instead building up more colonies in the West Bank and East Jerusalem , razing Gaza, taking it out on Lebanon, bombing Syria, attacking humanitarian aid fleets, and falling out with Turkey… How can they possible convince Mubarak’s successor that Camp David was worth the effort and the Middle East is more just and safer since 1979?
The alarm bell rang 33 years ago, but only now does Israel seem to be waking up. Except that peace, to paraphrase Monterroso’s words in The Dinosaur, “was not around anymore”.