Since being elected president of Egypt, Mohammed Morsi has said several times that his administration is committed to the peace treaty with Israel. Despite the fears raised by the regime change in Cairo, Egyptian security officials continue to cooperate with their Israeli counterparts against terrorists operating in Sinai. And despite their ideological and political affinity with Hamas, the heads of the ruling Freedom and Justice Party express support for the Israel-Palestinian peace talks, the two-state solution and the Arab Peace Initiative.
In an interview with The New York Times before his first visit to the United States as president, Morsi suggested that America fundamentally change its approach to the Arab world and help create a Palestinian state. He recalled that the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, which was meant to achieve peace and justice for the Palestinians as well, bears the signature of a U.S. president, Jimmy Carter. The United States, therefore, cannot shirk its obligation to implement all its sections, he said.
Morsi's remarks were published only a few days after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reiterated his warning about the possible collapse of the Oslo Accords. The encouraging signs from Egypt are being received by Jerusalem with apathy and inaction. The U.S. administration is bogged down in an election campaign and is busy putting out fires around U.S. embassies around the Muslim world.
Over the past year, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has invested most of his time and effort in the campaign against the Iranian nuclear program. Ensconced by the fear of an Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, Israel continues to tread water on the Palestinian track, ignoring the political revolutions taking place all around us.
The time when Israel could enjoy peaceful relations with Egypt while freezing progress with the Palestinians and building settlements is over. It's also possible that we're approaching the end of the era in which we enjoy the United States' blind support for a government that consistently works against the American position on settlements and publicly criticizes its president. But the choice between welcome initiative and cursed inaction is still in Israel's hands.
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