April 15, 2011 ·8 Comments
CAIRO — With long-standing president Hosni Mubarak — a key ally of Israel and the US — now ousted, Egypt will most likely be forthright in dealing with Tel Aviv, according to political analysis.
Days after being selected for a foreign ministry post, Dr Nabeel Al Arabi, a veteran diplomat, expressed Egypt’s willingness to open “a new page” in relations with Israel’s sworn enemy — Iran.
Since Mubarak’s ouster last February, Cairo has seen a string of visits by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and other officials from the Islamist Palestinian group Hamas.
Cairo has signalled its keenness to continue with efforts for a reconciliation between Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, and Abbas’ Fatah faction.
These efforts were unsuccessfully spearheaded by Mubarak’s chief of intelligence service Omar Sulaiman. “There is a qualitative leap in Egypt’s foreign policy after Mubarak, with more stress laid on ties with Africa and the Arabs in particular,” Mahfouz Saleh, a political analyst told Gulf News.
“Significantly, the first trip abroad by the acting prime minister was to Sudan, which is Egypt’s southern neighbour. The positive gestures made to Iran after more than three decades of estrangement, are another indication of this drastic change,” he added.
“Israel should not expect to be a pampered ally in Cairo any longer.”
Egypt was the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979.
Still, anti-Israel sentiment has been running high among Egyptians ever since. No Israeli official has visited Egypt since Mubarak was removed from power. “The Egyptian reaction to Israel’s latest air strikes against Gaza are in contrast with the lame response Mubarak and his foreign minister made following Israel’s devastating war on Gaza in late 2008,” Saleh said.
Hamas has always had problems with the former regime and accuses Mubarak of taking part in the siege on the Gaza strip and the war in 2009. “We believe that the previous regime shared part of the responsibility of the war and siege on Gaza,” Dr Younus Al Astal, a parliament member of Hamas said.
“We feel there has been a change in the way the Egyptian regime is dealing with the Palestinian cause now through what we heard from the present Egyptian officials especially the Egyptian foreign minister Dr Nabeel Al Arabi,” he said.
Cairo condemned the recent Israeli raids on the impoverished Palestinian enclave, which left 18 people dead.
By Ramadan Al Sherbini
Source: GulfNews | 15 April 2011Follow @somalilandpress