Israel Remains an Island of Stability among Hostile Islamist Movements

(Ha'aretz) Amos Harel - At first, the awakening of the Arab nations - in an attempt to topple dictatorial regimes that had ruled for decades - was met with justified enthusiasm in the West. But one cannot ignore the instability, economic crises and disturbing rise of Islamic movements - all of which place a huge question mark over the hopes for dramatic changes in the Arab world. For Israel, it will now be harder to attempt to reach peace agreements with Islamic regimes that derive their support from local public opinion (which is largely extremely hostile toward Israel). On the other hand, Israel has certain advantages in the new situation that has been created during the Arab awakening. The conventional threat posed by the Syrian army and the potential of a similar threat from the Egyptian army (should there be a serious escalation in tensions between Jerusalem and Cairo) have almost completely vanished. Hamas deliberately escalated its confrontation with Israel on the eve of Operation Pillar of Defense in November, with the assumption that it would be supported by the Muslim Brotherhood-led government in Cairo. However, that support was not forthcoming. Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood leader, Khairat al-Shater, even warned that his country would not allow Hamas to drag it into a war with Israel.

2012-12-26 00:00:00

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