Egypt’s Ties to Israel Deepen Despite Public Misgivings

Source: Arab Center Washington DC

Author(s): Gregory Aftandilian

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The Egyptian government has deepened its cooperation with Israel on strategic and economic matters in order to root out the extremist threat in the Sinai Peninsula and bolster Egypt’s economy. This policy particularly concerns natural gas, which has the potential to bring in much needed foreign exchange earnings. The growing ties have been facilitated by meetings between Egyptian and Israeli officials in recent months, partly with an eye toward mollifying the Biden Administration and Congressional Democrats who have been highly critical of Egypt’s poor human rights record.

For its part, the Egyptian public, while generally not averse to trade with Israel, remains wary of warmer relations with their neighbor until a just peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians is concluded. Should Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing allies continue to dominate the Israeli polity, however, such a deal is unlikely to materialize. Hence, Cairo will probably not alter its position that a two-state solution, along the lines of the Arab Peace Initiative (API) of 2002, is the preferred course of action, despite pressure from Israel that Trump’s “Peace to Prosperity” plan of 2020 is the one that should be adopted.

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