Consider the current uprising of oppressed voices in Egypt. Consider the conviction of the Tunisian people who ousted their dictatorial regime. Consider the view of thousands of people protesting in downtown Amman, Jordan wanting to see change even after King Abdullah fired his Prime Minister Samir Rifai two days ago. Consider the announcement by Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh that he won't run for re-election when his term ends in 2013 and promise not to attempt to pass on the presidency to his son. The CHANGE virus is definitely spreading in the Middle East. The Arab world is in a political earthquake where the effect of Tunisia's movement is trickling down across the middle east. What we are witnessing in the Arab world is an unprecedented uprising which may or may not have a great out come for its people depending who will run these countries in the future. I tend to think radical change from a dictatorship to Democracy is a process that must be executed methodically to effect the right balance to improve peoples' lives. What has been displayed in Egypt indeed is a united front of many opposition parties coming together willing to work together to effect change and hope that the will of the United People of Egypt is achieved. One thing to note however is that a successful removal of the Mubarak regime in Egypt will definitely have a huge impact to Israel, the Palestine Authority, Hamas and the United States. Israel is currently left with only one strong friend, Mubarak, in the Middle East and soon won't have the kind of alliance it had enjoyed in the past. The alliance it had with Turkey has gone south after Israel's flotilla raid last year that killed 20 people. Hamas's political muscle has been in the rise since the 2006 Palestinian election and instability in Egypt is a threat to Israel's national security. There is a possibility that a new government in Egypt might be more sympathetic to Palestinians in Gaza because of the treacherous living conditions, potentially opening up the tunnels between Gaza and Egypt. The Israeli Government does not want the blockade to end in order to control and restrict Hamas from increasing its strong hold to power as part of the National Unity Government. Abbas's Palestinian Authority, the Fatah party, is already standing on a thin ice and is considered weak by its people because of its secret dealings and capitulation with Israel, Egypt and the United States (Bush Administration) after it was exposed in the Palestine Papers leaked to Al Jazeera (A must read) about its dealing to undermine the National Unity Government established in 2007 after the 2006 election that empowered Hamas into victory winning 74 seats of the 132-seat Parliament. The containment of Hamas's power was a four way strategic goal of the US, Israel, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Egypt post Hamas' victory in 2006. Their aim was to ensure that the Fatah movement led by Mahmoud Abbas stay in control of the Palestinian Authority since Hamas is considered by U.S., EU and Israel a terrorist organization. According to the article, The Palestine Papers and the "Gaza coup":
Until now, the most comprehensive and essential account of these events was contained in David Rose's April 2008 Vanity Fair article, "The Gaza Bombshell." An initial reading of the Palestine Papers supports Rose's account and provides details of hitherto unknown secret, high-level "Quadripartite" meetings among Israeli, American, Egyptian and Palestinian officials whose explicit goal appears to have been to undermine the national unity government. The essential point here is that part of the PA -- loyal to Mahmoud Abbas and backed by the US -- was actively plotting with Israel and its allies against the legitimately-constituted unity government. Two documents in the Palestine Papers contain minutes of these meetings. The first is dated 11 March 2007 and titled "Quadripartite Meeting of the Gaza Security Committee." snip// The second "Quadripartite Security Meeting," held on 3 April 2007, focused on the political situation and stopping the tunnels between Gaza and Egypt. Lt. General Dayton observed that "The purpose of these efforts is to prevent Hamas from using the NUG [National Unity Government] as a means of gaining more powers and building up more arms."What are the implication in all of this? Considering Mubarak's weakened regime and the potential change in Egypt, the largest and well organized opposition faction in Egypt's current movement, the Muslim Brotherhood Party appears to have gain traction to have a stronger voice in Egypt's politics. The Muslim Brotherhood being a a supporter of Hamas's movement if it gains a majority seat in Egypt Government will more likely be a not so Israel friendly regime. It would be fair to assume that the Brotherhood Party may resurrect a movement in Palestine that will challenge the Fatah or the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank making it definitely a nightmare scenario for Israel, the United States and President Abbas of PA. It is also conceivable to project that Hamas will gain support from a less Israel friendly regime in Egypt that will most likely lift the blockade on Gaza empowering Hamas and possibility creating more military confrontation by Israel in Gaza. With Mubarak regime out, the US will definitely lose its leverage over the situation in Palestine in the so called peace process plan that does not seem to make a much needed dent to better the lives of Palestinians. The Muslim Brotherhood opposes the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty of 1979 and is on the move rallying with the most famous moderate voice Mohamed ElBaradei, the former UN International Atomic Energy Agency chief, who is well known and respected by many in the International communities. While ElBaradei has publicly condoned Israel as a threat to Middle East, he has also told Katie Couric on CBS News that Egypt would continue to be a friend to Israel if he assumes power. While Israel has to begin preparing for a less friendly regime, the United States must accept its effort for the peace process might stall unless expedited. However, all parties must hear the voices of the people of Egypt in supporting their need for change. President Obama has addressed the world in a manner that makes it unequivocally clear that the United States stands with the Egyptian people:
...I spoke directly to President Mubarak. He recognizes that the status quo is not sustainable and that a change must take place. Indeed, all of us who are privileged to serve in positions of political power do so at the will of our people. Through thousands of years, Egypt has known many moments of transformation. The voices of the Egyptian people tell us that this is one of those moments; this is one of those times. Now, it is not the role of any other country to determine Egypt’s leaders. Only the Egyptian people can do that. What is clear -- and what I indicated tonight to President Mubarak -- is my belief that an orderly transition must be meaningful, it must be peaceful, and it must begin now. Furthermore, the process must include a broad spectrum of Egyptian voices and opposition parties. It should lead to elections that are free and fair. And it should result in a government that’s not only grounded in democratic principles, but is also responsive to the aspirations of the Egyptian people. FULL SPEECH:While waiting for the movement that is unfolding to determine Egypt's destiny; the US, Israel and the Palestinian Authority must come to the drawing board to advance a quick resolution in the recognition of a Palestinian statehood if the Palestinian Authority is to have any legitimate chance of winning the hearts and minds of the Palestinian people. That would also mean for Israel to stop being inflexible in dealing with the Palestinian Authority and making the necessary concession like freezing settlements, returning lands it has built settlements on, addressing the humanitarian issues in Gaza, et al. The U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, Israel must do more to pursue peace with the Palestinians or risk empowering militant groups. I would agree with that. What is your take? Do you think the Obama Administration will be able to pressure Israel and the National Unity Government to strike a deal for peace with all that is going on in the Middle East? The floor is yours!
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