Saturday, September 10, 2011

Embassy attack a wake-up call for Israel

Israel has clearly not grasped that Turkey and Egypt in 2011 are nothing like they were a decade or even a year ago.

Marwan Bishara

"Protests at Israel's embassy in Cairo on Friday escalated into an attack on the facility that brought down the Israeli flag and forced the ambassador and his staff to flee in the middle of the night.

These dramatic events should come as a wake-up call: the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, can no longer take Egypt for granted.

Egypt's empowered and vocal public opinion since the revolution that threw out the government of Hosni Mubarak, the former president, has changed the way Cairo does business with its presumed "peace partner".

The window of opportunity to halt the deterioration of relations is closing fast. Do not expect relations to recover any time soon.....

Isolation beckons

As it stands, Netanyahu's Israel has lost the only two significant allies it had in the region.

Its attempts to pressure Washington into cleaning up its mess and tame its adversaries does not seem to be helping either.

Washington has also lost much of its political leverage in Turkey and Egypt because of the public pressure in both countries.

Any more pressure by Washington would only embarrass the generals in Turkey and the ruling military council in Egypt which are already under tremendous pressure from their respective publics....

Israel's intransigence will ultimately lead not only to its isolation, but also to a weakened US posture in the region...."

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