Moral Outrage
Whew! God help us!

Egypt’s peace with Israel may be short-lived

The former head of the UN atomic body (IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei returned to Egypt last Thursday just before the rioting broke out. Now Egyptian opposition groups have called on ElBaradei to negotiate with the government of the embattled president Hosni Mubarak. This includes the Muslim Brotherhood, whose leading member Essam el-Eryan has said the opposition groups support talks with the government, if they are led by ElBaradei.

Three decades after the signing of the historic peace accord with Israel, Egyptians are still not convinced that peace with Israel is beneficial for them. So besides dictatorship and the prevention of general freedoms, another issue that the Egyptian people want to take up is Mubarak’s insistence on continuing peace with Israel and even allowing it to rule over part of the country.

The likely winner of a genuinely free Egyptian election, according to most opinion polls, would be the Muslim Brotherhood. The Brothers some say are not particularly radical as Islamists go, but the first thing they have promised to do if they win power is to hold a referendum on Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel. And most Egyptians, according to the same polls, would vote to cancel it.

That would end the flow of official U.S. aid and private foreign investment that currently keeps the Egyptian economy more or less afloat, even though it would probably not lead to an actual war. And there is no reason to believe that an Islamic government could make the Egyptian economy grow any faster, although it would distribute the poverty more fairly.

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