Normalization with Egypt Should Be Israel’s Next Peacemaking Goal

While the 1979 Camp David Accords, concluded by Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin, have proved to be one of the Jewish state’s greatest diplomatic triumphs, Egyptian-Israeli relations rarely go beyond high-level security cooperation. Hillel Frisch believes that the time might be ripe for a warming of this “cold peace.”

Annex Three [of the 1979 treaty] includes articles that ensure complete freedom of movement for citizens of both states. This article has been flouted by the Egyptian state, which has harassed and even imprisoned Egyptians who dared to come to Israel. The intent to allow free economic interchange and cultural exchanges has been consistently thwarted if not suppressed.

Egypt has prevented university exchanges and cultural venues from taking place, and no Egyptian soccer team has ever played in an Israeli stadium, let alone the other way round.

The Abraham Accords could make a dent in the cold peace. An encouraging sign is the official Egyptian welcome given to the normalization process between Israel and Sudan. . . . The prospect of an Israeli political presence in Sudan, which Egypt regards as its geostrategic backyard, has always alarmed Cairo. That President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi overcame, at least for the moment, inhibitions to welcome normalization of Israeli-Sudanese relations could be a harbinger of the much-sought-for normalization of relations between the two veteran peacemakers in the area.

Read more at BESA Center

More about: Abraham Accords, Camp David Accords, Egypt, Israeli Security

Iran’s Options for Revenge on Israel

On April 1, an Israeli airstrike on Damascus killed three Iranian generals, one of whom was the seniormost Iranian commander in the region. The IDF has been targeting Iranian personnel and weaponry in Syria for over a decade, but the killing of such a high-ranking figure raises the stakes significantly. In the past several days, Israelis have received a number of warnings both from the press and from the home-front command to ready themselves for retaliatory attacks. Jonathan Spyer considers what shape that attack might take:

Tehran has essentially four broad options. It could hit an Israeli or Jewish facility overseas using either Iranian state forces (option one), or proxies (option two). . . . Then there’s the third option: Tehran could also direct its proxies to strike Israel directly. . . . Finally, Iran could strike Israeli soil directly (option four). It is the riskiest option for Tehran, and would be likely to precipitate open war between the regime and Israel.

Tehran will consider all four options carefully. It has failed to retaliate in kind for a number of high-profile assassinations of its operatives in recent years. . . . A failure to respond, or staging too small a response, risks conveying a message of weakness. Iran usually favors using proxies over staging direct attacks. In an unkind formulation common in Israel, Tehran is prepared to “fight to the last Arab.”

Read more at Spectator

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Syria