Peace with Israel Has Served Egypt Well

(New York Post) Amir Taheri - The recent raid on the Israeli embassy in Cairo has opened a debate over future relations between the two nations. Most Egyptians have always felt bitter that their country suffered three major defeats at the hands of "tiny Israel." At the same time, they've persuaded themselves that making peace was a favor that Egypt did for Israel. The Mubarak regime had every interest in pretending that peace was an Egyptian gift that could be withdrawn at any time. This enabled Mubarak to collect for that gift again and again without taking the steps needed to foster a proper peace with Israel. So, after three decades, what goes for peace between Egypt and Israel is little more than a ceasefire. The Camp David accords let Egypt recover the Sinai Peninsula, an area that holds more than 80% of the nation's oil and natural-gas resources - which provide Egypt's top source of revenue after tourism. It also meant the re-opening of the Suez Canal, the nation's No. 3 income source. Peace also brought $2 billion a year in U.S. aid, as well as gifts from Europe. Thus, over the past 30 years, Egypt has received over $100 billion in peace dividends. Without peace it would have been impossible for Egypt to develop its tourism industry and its hundreds of thousands of jobs. The "Egyptian Riviera" on the Red Sea would remain a forlorn desert.

2011-09-23 00:00:00

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