Egypt and Israel Send a Message to Turkey, and to the U.S.

Feb. 23 2021

On Sunday, Tarek el-Molla, Egypt’s minister of petroleum and mineral resources, paid an official visit to Israel—the first visit from an Egyptian minister since 2016. Molla also met with Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah. Lazar Berman comments:

Israel and Egypt agreed Sunday to link up Israel’s Leviathan natural-gas field with Egyptian liquid-natural-gas facilities through an underwater pipeline, from which the gas can be exported to European markets.

Analysts say that one of the key purposes of the meetings—beyond the energy discussions—was to send a message to Turkey, and its president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. For the better part of a decade, Turkey has been engaged in a bitter rivalry with Egypt that began when Erdogan backed the Muslim Brotherhood after the group was ousted from power in Cairo.

In the Mediterranean, Egypt has aligned itself with Greece and Cyprus, which accuse Turkey of illegally drilling for natural gas in their exclusive economic zones. Together with Israel, the countries formed the EastMed Gas Forum, headquartered in Cairo, and have conducted joint military exercises.

The visit was also meant to send a message to the Biden administration. Egypt anticipates increased pressure from the U.S. government over its human-rights record. . . . The more Egypt can present itself as a source of stability and cooperation in the region, the logic goes, the less [such] pressure it will face from the U.S.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Egypt, Israel diplomacy, Israeli gas, Turkey, US-Israel relations

President Biden Should Learn the Lessons of Past U.S. Attempts to Solve the Israel-Palestinian Conflict

Sept. 21 2023

In his speech to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Joe Biden addressed a host of international issues, mentioning, inter alia, the “positive and practical impacts” resulting from “Israel’s greater normalization and economic connection with its neighbors.” He then added that the U.S. will “continue to work tirelessly to support a just and lasting peace between the Israelis and Palestinians—two states for two peoples.” Zach Kessel experiences some déjà vu:

Let’s take a stroll down memory lane and review how past U.S.-brokered talks between Jerusalem and [Palestinian leaders] have gone down, starting with 1991’s Madrid Conference, organized by then-President George H.W. Bush. . . . Though the talks, which continued through the next year, didn’t get anywhere concrete, many U.S. officials and observers across the world were heartened by the fact that Madrid was the first time representatives of both sides had met face to face. And then Palestinian militants carried out the first suicide bombing in the history of the conflict.

Then, in 1993, Bill Clinton tried his hand with the Oslo Accords:

In the period of time directly after the Oslo Accords . . . suicide bombings on buses and in crowded public spaces became par for the course. Clinton invited then-Palestinian Authority chairman Yasir Arafat and then-Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak to Camp David in 2000, hoping finally to put the conflict to rest. Arafat, who quite clearly aimed to extract as many concessions as possible from the Israelis without ever intending to agree to any deal—without even putting a counteroffer on the table—scuttled any possibility of peace. Of course, that’s not the most consequential event for the conflict that occurred in 2000. Soon after the Camp David Summit fell apart, the second intifada began.

Since Clinton, each U.S. president has entered office hoping to put together the puzzle that is an outcome acceptable to both sides, and each has failed. . . . Every time a deal has seemed to have legs, something happens—usually terrorist violence—and potential bargains are scrapped. What, then, makes Biden think this time will be any different?

Read more at National Review

More about: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Joe Biden, Palestinian terror, Peace Process