Just when it seems like the social and political conundrums that characterize the Middle East can't get any more complicated, they do.
Known for its volatility, violence and oppressive leaders, the region continues to be a hotbed of unpredictable hostilities. The latest fighting between Israel and Gaza militants is the newest chapter in what seems like a never-ending battle royale. As a result of the hostilities and the subsequent deaths of five Egyptian soldiers, Egypt and Israel are beginning to feel intense diplomatic strains.
As the Egyptian people prepare the pave the way forward by creating an entirely new governmental system of rule, it's important to explore what the political parties vying for control are proposing. This is particularly true when it comes to discussions about the nation's future relations with Israel. CNS News writes:
...at the heart of Israeli-Arab peace efforts is the wide range of Egyptian political parties and leaders demanding that their government take a harsh line against Israel.
Joining the call are radical Salafists, Muslim Brotherhood offshoots, secular centrists, and four presidential candidates, including two who are faring well in opinion polls – former Arab League head Amr Moussa and Ayman Nour, a liberal politician on whose behalf President Bush spoke out when President Hosni Mubarak’s regime imprisoned him as a dissident in 2007.
This cross-section of the Egyptian political spectrum is now calling for tough steps against Israel, after its forces inadvertently killed five Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai peninsula while pursuing terrorists responsible for deadly attacks against Israeli civilians.
The field of those opposed to Egypt's Middle Eastern neighbor is large enough to cause concern, especially considering the region's fragile nature.
And the anti-Israel emotions have only escalated following the Israeli response to this week's militant action. In addition to strong political responses, the Egyptian soldiers' deaths have sent protestors running out into the streets.
Citizen anger has likely been intensified as political parties and politicians have very publicly and very adamantly condemned the Jewish state. These individuals and groups have called for "tough measures to be taken." After forming a coalition, these parties plan to approach Egypt's current military rulers to make a series of eight demands.
These requests include recalling Egyptian Ambassador Yasser Reda from Israel, removing Israel's ambassador from Egypt and banning Israeli naval forces from using the Suez Canal. In sum, there are eight appeals that the coalition plans to make.
Others include reporting Israel's actions to the UN Security Council, punishing the Jewish state for its recent actions and pushing hard to turn those responsible for the Israeli military response over to Egyptian authorities. The group released a statement that reads:
“[The Mubarak regime] has been replaced by a strong nation that doesn’t know weakness and knows how to get justice for the blood of its martyrs. In the face of this crime, the Egyptians have united, across ideologies, political parties, police and army and put aside their differences for the sake of the nation and give support to their armed forces against this attack.”
The message seems to be that Mubarak's less-than-hostile relations with Israel were "weak" in nature. This new "strong nation" is emboldened by the recent violence that occurred and will not progress in a manner favorable to Israel. The joint response is very clear, pointed and, considering the trajectory of the region and the uncertainty inherent in the political schema, concerning. According to Ahram Online:
The statement was signed by presidential candidates Amr Moussa, Hisham El-Bastawisy, Ayman Nour and the representative of Islamist candidate Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh, as well as the representatives of the Wafd Party, the Wasat Party, the Ghad Party, El-Hadara Party, El-Asala Party and El-Nahda Party. The statement was also signed by Samir Morcos, deputy to the governor of Cairo, George Ishaq, former secretary-general to the Kefaya Movement, and prominent media personality Hamdy Kandeel.
As a result of the Israeli response, the Arab League accused the Jewish state of war crimes as well:
While the response has certainly been strong on the Egyptian end, Israel has expressed its regret for the soldiers' deaths, however this apology has been rejected and deemed "insufficient." Despite these setbacks, tensions may be diffusing. Below, watch a report that showcases information on the push to contain this politically-flammable situation:
Regardless of whether this situation dissipates, the joint statement that was endorsed by six political parties and numerous presidential candidates should serve as a warning. The character and values espoused within the response showcase the negative levels to which these individuals and groups are willing to take Egypt's relationship with Israel.
(h/t CNS News)