Israel Will Miss Mubarak

Presumptive president Mohammed Morsi may take a page from Bibi's book: 'If they give, they'll get.'

Akiva Eldar
Akiva Eldar
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Akiva Eldar
Akiva Eldar

The anointing of Mohammed Morsi as the new president of Egypt, if indeed the declarations of victory by the Muslim Brotherhood are substantiated, is expect to open a new era in relations between Cairo and Jerusalem. It will be based on a formula from the workshop of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: If they give, they'll get; if they don't give, they won't get. Bibi dictated this to the Palestinians. Morsi will copy it in the relations with Israel. The new president will be far more attentive than his predecessor to the mood of the street.

Egyptian public opinion is exposed to propaganda from critics of the peace agreement, who accuse the regime of former President Hosni Mubarak of having betrayed the Palestinians and abandoning the Al Aqsa Mosque. Apparently business as usual in the settlements and the peace process will not be accompanied by relations as usual between Egypt and Israel.

Vice Prime Minister Moshe ("Boogie" ) Ya'alon is promising that relations with the Palestinians will not change "until I see the three-year-old in Ramallah learning that Israel has a right to exist" (Haaretz Magazine, June 15 ). What will he say if the Egyptians make relations with Israel contingent on every child in Tel Aviv learning that Palestine has a right to exist, and demand of the Ministry of Education that it order the pre-1967 borders be indicated on the maps in textbooks.

A large advertisement in Haaretz a week ago, prior to a performance under the patronage of Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat, shows that even Jordan's right to exist is not taken for granted by every child in Israel. The advertisement promises that the proceeds from the performance will be dedicated to the establishment of daycare centers in the network of Herut Women associated with the Likud. The symbol of the organization (which has its offices at Likud headquarters, Metsudat Ze'ev in Tel Aviv ) that is proudly displayed alongside that of the World Zionist Organization - and of course on the gates of the daycare centers - shows a map of the land of Israel on both sides of the Jordan River.

When Israel complains that the chilling of relations on Egypt's part constitutes a violation of an agreement signed under the auspices of the United States, there will certainly be someone at the Foreign Ministry in Cairo who will remember the 2003 road map established by former President George W. Bush. This is the document that obligates Israel to evacuate all the illegal outposts founded in the West Bank since March 2001. Any time foreign diplomats take an interest in this document, the Prime Minister's Bureau and Foreign Ministry warn them that evacuating the settlements would engender petitions to the High Court of Justice by right-wing organizations about the non-implementation of demolition orders against illegal buildings in Area C (the 62% of the West Bank under full Israeli control ), and the Civil Administration would have to demolish them as well.

How is Jerusalem going to explain the violation of the road map after the Civil Administration has demolished 52 buildings and tents in the Palestinian village of Susya, in the southern Hebron hills, following a petition filed by the Regavim movement "to protect national lands and properties and prevent foreign elements from taking over the Jewish People's territorial resource," according to its website?

The judges, who had just ordered the demolition of the buildings in Beit El's Ulpana Hill neighborhood, no doubt had in mind the principle of equality before the law. Regavim, however, proudly upholds the value of discrimination. In the wake of the High Court of Justice order to include Israeli Arab locales on the list of peripheral population centers entitled to special benefits, the organization's monthly newsletter stated: "This outrageous ruling joins a series of outrageous rulings that are eroding the Zionist character of the state and prohibiting any preference for Jewish settlement."

The court system is not the only one that sins in this dangerous approach; the cancer is spreading unimpeded in the innards of the Declaration of Independence. The seminal Zionist document promises that the state will devote itself to developing the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants and will also maintain absolutely equal social and political rights for its citizens.

Major renovations

Swedish journalist Lotta Schullerqvist visited Gaza last week and reported that even though it has been five years now since the blockade was imposed, she was impressed by the extent of construction of residential buildings and by the splendid promenade going up along the beachfront. Schullerqvist brought an embarrassing story from there that she heard from Osama Khayel, chairman of the Gaza Contractors Association. In January 2009, when the dust was still rising from the hundreds of buildings destroyed during Operation Cast Lead, a man who introduced himself as the representative of the Israeli Association of Renovation Contractors contacted him and offered their help in rehabilitating the ruins. Khayel thought this must have been a guy with a macabre sense of humor who decided that was the time to joke. He asked the man to send him the proposal in writing.

On January 26, a fax landed in Khayel's office from the Israeli Association of Renovation Contractors (a copy of which has been obtained by Haaretz ). The chairman of the organization expressed his dismay at the harm caused innocent people and children and conveyed his condolences to the families of the bereaved. "Further to our telephone conversation," he continued, "I hereby state our wish to provide aid and assistance in repairing damage caused during the war to buildings and infrastructure in Gaza." Khayel replied politely that he would be glad if the Israeli contractors persuaded the authorities to allow their colleagues in Gaza to bring in raw materials.

The Kuzari released

Last month I reported here that the State of Israel was embargoing the import of a Lebanese edition of "The Book of Kuzari," written by Yehuda Halevi in Arabic, and demanding the imposition of a high customs duty on it. The reason: "trade with the enemy." After prolonged effort, Israeli customs a few days ago released the copies into the hands of the translator and editor, Nabih Bashir, a Jerusalemite pursuing a doctorate at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev's Department of Jewish Thought.

Next week at the Be'er Sheva campus there will be an event to launch the book and a toast to the release of Yehuda Halevi from his captivity.

Credit: Amos Biderman

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