The cease-fire with Hamas might have created a new bond between Israel and
Egypt’s new government, according to Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor
“We might have created a new architecture of an Egypt and Israel
that have a common interest in seeing that Gaza does not again become a source
of eruption, of bombs and rockets or the source of a crisis that endangers the
stability of the region,” Meridor said.
He spoke with reporters in
Jerusalem on Thursday, at a press event sponsored by the Israel
Operation Pillar of Defense, he said, answered a number of
diplomatic questions with respect to Egypt, US President Barack Obama and the
Prior to the conflict, it was unclear what role
the newly elected Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi would play.
faced with the Gaza crisis, Egypt played a supportive role, he said.
fact that Egypt is part of the cease-fire agreement has added value, he
There had been concern, Meridor said, that in his second term Obama
would act vindictively toward Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu or that Israel
would be isolated in the international arena.
But Israel had had the
backing of the international community and the US, “in spite of the prophesies
of Obama being vindictive. We had very clear support from the US administration.
We had solid support from the European Union,” he said. “This is not be taken
Meridor defended Netanyahu’s decision to agree to a cease-fire,
rather than launching a ground invasion of Gaza now.
The option to send
ground forces into Gaza still exists, he said. If Israel is forced to go into
Gaza, he added, it would have more legitimacy for that action, if the decision
to do so is taken after diplomacy has failed.
“Building legitimacy while
fighting a war is important,” Meridor said. “We were right in the eyes of the
world. It was obvious that we could not take [the rockets] any longer, no
country could take it.”
If Israel needs to, he said, it could go into
Gaza. “It might exact a price, but we hope that we won’t have
Islamic Jihad is an Iranian proxy, Meridor said. Israel does not
want to see arms smuggled into Gaza, he said.
Meridor also addressed the
Palestinian bid at the United Nations this Thursday to upgrade its status to
that of non-member state. Four years ago, he said the Palestinians turned from
negotiations to the unilateral pursuit of statehood.
“The change of
strategy from agreement to resolution, from negotiations to pressure, may lead
to a statement, not a state,” he said.
He said he hoped that countries
interested in peace and stability would know that this is a dead
“It’s not an opening,” he said. “If [the PA] wants an agreement,” he
said, “we advise them to talk.”