Divided Israel Watches Mideast Upheaval with Support, Alarm

Newswise — Ross Brann, a professor of Judeo-Islamic studies and former chair of Cornell University’s Department of Near Eastern Studies who has studied in both Jerusalem and Cairo, comments on perceptions within Israel of the expanding demands for political change in the Arab world.

Brann says:

“Israeli liberals and leftists are supportive of the demonstrations in Egypt. They view it as a necessary and auspicious moment to advance a peace settlement with the Palestinians.

“By contrast, the Israeli right, including the current government, is alarmed by the changes taking place in the region and prefers the status quo over any political substantive initiatives with the Palestinians. The Netanyahu government viewed Mubarak as a strategic ally in the region.

“With the Egyptian army now in charge, the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty will still be strictly observed. But with political change in the wind Egyptian hostility toward Israel’s policies regarding the Palestinians will doubtless increase. Accordingly the political standing of the Israeli government is weaker, as is its capacity for the sorts of unilateral actions it prefers.”


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