Makovsky on Egypt and Restarting the Peace Process

The website of Foreign Affairs magazine has a very useful interview with David Makovsky, fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, former Jerusalem Post editor, former Haaretz diplomatic correspondent and one of the smartest Middle East watchers in Washington, on the various uncertainties Israel faces right now. He notes that Israel and Egypt have been engaging in a lot of back-channel diplomacy in the last few days to try and keep the border quiet and maintain the peace. The danger, he says, is

He’s surprisingly optimistic—or at least un-pessimistic—about the future of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. President Obama’s speeches in May to Congress and AIPAC about Palestinian statehood based on the 1967 lines with swaps were a gesture toward the Palestinian, which made the Israelis uncomfortable. The administration is now trying to get the Europeans to match that with a parallel gesture to pressure the Palestinians, specifically working against the Palestinian statehood measure at the United Nations. The idea is to give Tony Blair space to produce a Quartet formula that allows peace talks to restart. The details Makovsky lays out are fascinating, not least the internal splits within the EU that are making the job difficult. And there’s this:

Also well worth the read: Al-Masry Al-Youm (Egypt Today), often regarded as Egypt’s most influential daily, interviews former Egyptian ambassador to Israel Mohamed Bassiouny about Egyptian-Israeli relations following the August 17 terror attack on the Eilat highway. Bassiouny argues that Israel’s army is better trained than Egypt’s and should play a more active role in securing the border. He also wants to see the treaty amended to let Egypt bring more troops into the peninsula to deal with the problems on its own side. The paper asks if he thinks Egypt should withdraw its ambassador from Israel right now to protest the deaths of Egyptian security personnel following the terrorist attacks. He thinks it’s a bad idea.

Written by

J.J. Goldberg

J.J. Goldberg

Jonathan Jeremy “J.J.” Goldberg is editor-at-large of the Forward, where he served as editor in chief for seven years (2000-2007).

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