The election of Islamist Mohamed Mursi as president of Egypt could be the beginning of "a real peace" between the Israeli and Egyptian people as opposed to the "cold, formal peace," that has existed until now, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman said in an article published in the paper on Wednesday.
Friedman said that the government of Prime Minster Binyamin Netanyahu must abandon the thinking that peace can be made with a single dictator as opposed to an entire people. He posited that Israel would have to appeal to the Egyptian "man on the street" by gaining his understanding and not only inspiring fear. He suggested that a renewed peace process with the Palestinians was a way to achieve this goal.
"I don’t know whether the current Palestinian leadership can be a partner for a secure, two-state peace with Israel, but I do know this: Israel needs to be more creative in testing whether that is possible. Because the alternative is a one-state solution that will be the death of Israel as a Jewish democracy and deadly for peace with a democratic Egypt," Friedman said.
Friedman stated that while Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood "aspires to lock itself into power and exploit a revolution it did not initiate," it would have a difficult time doing so in Egypt. He said that political Islam has been able to survive in Iran and Saudi Arabia because of the existence of oil money. Egypt, however, "can’t survive without tourism, foreign investment and aid to create the jobs, schools and opportunities to satisfy the Egyptian youths who launched this revolution and many others who passively supported it."
Friedman said that Mursi would be under tremendous pressure, both at home and from the US, to "follow the path of Turkey, not the Taliban."
He stated that if Mursi were to offer a real peace with the Muslim Brotherhood-led Egypt it could lead to peace with the Muslim world and an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Friedman said that while this possibility was a "long shot," Israeli-Egyptian peace in its current form "will gradually become unsustainable. "