Dozens Israelis Egypt
January 29, 2011 by staff
Dozens Israelis Egypt, (CP) – Behind a wall of official silence, Israel looked nervously Saturday stirring anti-government worsened in Egypt, fearing that the violent street protests and growing could topple the most important ally of Israel in the Arab world.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered his government to remain silent on the situation in Egypt. But in a clear reflection of the concerns of Israel, Sun Gold, a subsidiary of Israel’s national airline, El Al, took dozens of Israelis, including families of diplomats from Egypt on a flight emergency. The government also urged Israelis to avoid travel to Egypt.
The stability of the regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is a major concern for Israel.
Egypt was the first Arab country to make peace with Israel, and since he succeeded Anwar Sadat assassinated following the historic peace treaty three decades ago, Mubarak has strongly honored the agreement.
While relations have often been cool, Mubarak has remained a key bridge in the Arab world, often serves as a mediator between Israel and the Palestinians. Mubarak has also cooperated with Israel in containing the militant group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, a volatile coastal strip that borders Israel and Egypt.
Israeli officials, ordered to speak on condition of anonymity, expressed serious concerns about Mubarak’s precarious grip on power. Some said they feared that violence could spread to neighboring Jordan, the only other Arab country with a peace agreement with Israel or the Palestinian territories.
There was also a fear that opposition groups anti-Israel, including the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood, could gain a greater voice in decision-making in Egypt.
“A stable Egypt with a peace treaty with Israel, a quiet border,” an Israeli official told The Associated Press. “If there is a regime change Israel must reassess its strategy to protect its border from one of the most modern armies in the region. ”
Early Saturday evening, Sun D’or International Airlines plane landed in Israel with about 40 Israelis who were in Egypt for private affairs, plus an undetermined number of diplomats’ spouses and children on board, officials said. The Israeli Foreign Ministry said its diplomats to remain in Egypt for the moment.
Egyptian unrest dominated the Israeli media. Israeli television news updates non-stop all day. Funded by the State of Israel radio reported extensively on the evolution and doubled its emissions “Fire on the Nile.”
Writing in the Israeli daily Haaretz on Saturday columnist Aluf Benn speculated that Mubarak “power fading leaves Israel with few friends in the Middle East.
Mubarak has faced days of massive anti-government protests, with tens of thousands who fill the streets of Cairo and other cities demanding his resignation after nearly 30 years in power. The demonstrators said they are tired of mass unemployment, lack of opportunities and corruption that plague the country.
On Saturday, Mubarak called Omar Suleiman, head of its powerful intelligence service, as vice-president, the first time anyone has held this position since he became president in 1981. It is unclear whether the movement that followed promises of reform and a new government, would be sufficient to calm the unrest.
There was no immediate reaction from Israel, but the appointment was likely to calm the nerves in Israel, Suleiman is a frequent visitor and has a good working relationship with its Israeli counterparts.
Israeli officials said it was unclear whether Mubarak would survive the events, and they fear that links could be damaged if the popular opposition group in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood made gains.
Eli Shaked, a former Israeli ambassador to Egypt, speculated in an interview with Channel 10 TV that if Mubarak’s reign is destabilized, Egyptian Islamists could fill the void.
“It is good that Israel is to be silent, but there is no doubt that what is happening in Egypt is not good for Israeli interests,” Shaked said. “There will be a matter of time before a leader of the revolution will arise and the Muslim Brotherhood.
A stronger Muslim Brotherhood could also affect the balance of power between rival Palestinian camps, the government of President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank and the rival Hamas regime in Gaza.
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