The spontaneous revolutions in the Arab countries resulted in the deposing of the despotic regimes in some of them, while in others /Jordan, Syria, Libya/ they grow in scale through armed clashes and mass peaceful protests aiming the final removal of the discredited rulers. This wave of discontent can possibly incite certain forces in some of these countries to redraw the borders in the region as they were determined with the participation of the European powers in 1916-1922. These borders were later shifted during the Iraq war /some ethnic enclaves arose/ and the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza. There HAMAS took control after parliamentary elections. With the signing of the Camp David Peace Accords between Israel and Egypt /March 1979/ the period of expectations of achieving a final lasting peace in the Middle East set in. Since then until the present moment the parties in the conflict /Israel, Egypt and the Palestinian Autonomy (PA)/ participate with varying persistency in negotiations recognizing that the eventual successful conclusion of the Israeli-Palestinian dialogue is the key for solving the problems. Currently, however, under the impact of the wind of changes preconditions for revising the foreign policy targets of the negotiating countries arise and the outline of additional difficulties emerges resulting from government changes.
The upheavals in the area were unexpected and they took the political strategists in Israel by surprise. The government missed its chance to respond in due time and in accordance with the changing environment. The prognostics assessment and the intentions for interactions in the new political reality were delayed for a long period of time. No matter what steps will be taken from now on it is important to realize that the region becomes subordinate to new political rules. This state of affairs requires new strategic thought and preemptive decision making and not merely following the events.
The peoples’ aspirations for reforms and democratic changes in the countries affected by the revolutions come into conflict with the popularly constructed notion that these people are undeserving and immature and they are inapt to achieve their purpose. Obviously the mass disturbances vented certain amount of the accumulated pressure but unfortunately they can still not nominate stable political leaderships. Two possible scenarios for getting the processes under control are emerging in Egypt affected by the Revolution of 25 January- with the military or with the ascend of the radical Islamists of Muslim Brotherhood (MB) to power. By the first one the parting with the military is imminent as they are identified with the previous status quo and they are not anticipated to justify the expectation for reforms. In view of this the people’s attention logically turns to the second possibility – the representatives of MB /HAMAS in the Palestinian Autonomy, Hezbollah in Lebanon etc./. HAMAS is a vivid example of political metamorphosis by which the admittedly terrorist and supported by Iran Shiite organization was transformed into a political force. Judging by the dynamics of the developing processes it can be ascertained that is a matter of tactical evaluation by the radical Islamic movements /Egypt and Tunisia/ when the time for assuming power to set in. And what is more Israel especially has to live with the notion that the Islamic regime which will eventually come to power in Egypt will try to receive an international recognition. On account of this it can be expected that the new government will not denounce the peace treaty with Israel but will rather take action for its subversion. The analyses and assessments show that the troubles for the countries participating in the negotiations will begin with the replacement of the secular regimes by the rule of the radical Islamic movements. Despite of the Islamic diversity the individual subjects are united by the common ideas that the religious law (the Sharia) must be adopted in the countries and that the “infidels” must be fought.
One of the topics of the Israeli-Palestinian dialogue is the creation of an independent state Palestine with capital East Jerusalem. It can be expected that its decision can be abandoned for a very long time by eventual similar political development in the neighbouring Hashemite Kingdom. It has to be taken into consideration that Israel has its longest border with Jordan in close proximity to which many Jews live. The eventual downfall of the King’s regime will affect the dialogue worse than Hosni Mubarak’s fall from power.
As a whole the Palestinians will feel more and more the support of Egypt including for averting the attacks on the Gaza strip. For the first time since many years a genuine satisfaction was felt at the official statement of the new Egyptian government on the last Israeli air attacks on the Gaza strip. It is caused mainly by the resolute tone of the new Foreign Minister of Egypt Mr. Nabil El-Arabi, despite that Egypt is currently occupied with its internal problems and has temporarily abandoned its relations with Israel. Simultaneously eventual military operations in Gaza will provoke reaction and protests in Cairo which will have to be addressed by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. The problem is that the rule is no longer in the hands of the convenient Hosni Mubarak and Omar Suleyman.
It can be anticipated that the Israeli-Palestinian dialogue faces new difficulties analyzing the current processes in the Middle East and the prospects for their development. Israel lost its moderate partners-mediators with the Palestinians in the persons of the former President Hosni Mubarak and the present Vice President Gen. Omar Suleyman.
The probability the power in Egypt to pass in the hands of the radical Islamists after the parliamentary elections in September this year is high. It is expected that this will result in a tougher policy towards Israel and in provoking either suitable real steps towards the solution of the controversial issues in the dialogue / the return of the Palestinian refugees, the creation of Palestinian state, releasing the Palestinian prisoners/ or in discontinuing the negotiations for an indefinite period of time.