A credible peace mediator needed
By AHMED ABDEL-RAHEEM
Neither Egypt nor America can be a credible peace broker for Palestine and Israel. The region needs a new peace mediator. Who could it be?
After its veto at the UN against upgrading Palestine to observer member status,
America has become as villainous as Israel in the eyes of Palestinians. Broadly
speaking, Arabs now clearly see the United States as the main supporter of
Israel and its settlement plans in the occupied territories.
This view of
America was portrayed by Al-Ahram in a cartoon depicting Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu holding a gun in his right hand, which has a bulging muscle with Uncle
Sam’s hat perched on it, saying happily, “If we don’t reach a diplomatic
solution, we will expand our operations in Gaza.”
The metaphor here
highlights that Israel’s power comes from the United States and that any attack
from Israel on Palestinians is approved by the US.
al-Youm ran a picture of America and Israel hugging each other passionately, and
in the corner Uncle Sam saying to an Arab (while pointing to the hugging scene),
“I think it is clear how we strongly press on Israel.” As can be seen, the
analogy stresses that America lies to Arabs regarding its peace
Worryingly, Arab hatred of the US is on the rise, especially
after threats from some American lawmakers to shut down the PLO’s office in
Washington and deprive Palestine of US aid in sympathy with Israel following the
long-sought victory for the Palestinians at the UN.
On this account, the
US cannot be a credible mediator in any peace talks. But what about Egypt?
According to many politicians and commentators, Egypt succeeded in ending eight
days of fighting between Hamas and Israel. But in my view, the Western media
sympathy for Palestine played a major role in putting pressure on Israel to stop
its attacks on Gaza, and hence paving the way for a cease-fire.
question I want to raise here is, how do the Israelis see Egypt under the rule
of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi? The answer to this question tells us why,
like America, Egypt isn’t a suitable peace broker between Israel and
For the Israelis (as for many media commentators), the Muslim
Brotherhood to which Morsi belongs is Hamas’ parent organization. As such,
Morsi, from the Israeli perspective, takes the Palestinian side. For them,
unlike his predecessor Hosni Mubarak, Morsi opens the Rafah border for Gazans
and backs Hamas in its fight against Israel. Importantly, Israel feels that
Hamas takes its strength from Morsi and his group.
Brotherhood member themselves have ambitions to create a Muslim caliphate with
Jerusalem as its capital. Importantly, prominent Egyptian cleric Safwat Hegazy
has been reported by media as saying in Tahrir Square, “The United States of the
Arabs will be restored on the hands of that man [Morsi]. Our capital shall not
be Cairo, Mecca or Medina. It shall be Jerusalem,” as the crowds
Tension lingers in the Gaza Strip following the cease-fire. And
because of his proposed constitution, Morsi faces his own problems in
Crucially, he is now described as “a Pharaoh,” a dictator, by the
Egyptians themselves. How can Egypt solve the problems of others if it can’t
settle its own? In sum, neither Egypt nor America can be a credible peace broker
for Palestine and Israel. The region needs a new peace mediator. Who could it
The writer is an Egyptian artist and a PhD student.