Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Democracy in Egypt may endanger peace with Israel

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. Psalms 122:6

For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye. Zechariah 2:8

I apologize in advance if I'm guilty of overgeneralizing. However:
The people labelled as neoconservatives tend to be disproportionately Jewish and primarily loyal to the interests of the state of Israel, to the point of championing other countries' involvement in wars that are primarily in the interests of Israel (see, for example, such publications as Commentary and the National Post). The early neocons were disillusioned leftists, Trotskyists who believed in perpetual revolution. As neocons, they support global democratic revolution, and have been the among the most enthusiastic supporters of the so-called "Arab Spring," where dictatorial governments have been uprooted and replaced with democratic elections.

I used to be generally sympathetic with the views of neoconservatives (I often photocopied articles from Commentary) until about 1995 and after, when I stopped equating democracy with freedom. Arno Froese recognized the dangers of democracy, and wrote a book, published in 1997, titled How Democracy Will Elect the Antichrist. The neocons have forgotten or ignored the history of western nations, where government has risen from a Christian worldview, and rights of minorities and dissenters have been protected. In an Islamic society, democracy may very well end up electing Islamist governments, which do not permit dissent or respect the rights of minorities. It doesn't seem to have occurred to neocons that a major reason western governments traditionally have supported Arab dictators was to prevent the existence of Islamist governments (of course, the dictatorial governments supported by western nations tended to operate in accord with the interests of those western nations rather than the interests of their own people, which helped to spur the popularity of Islamist movements). There's a darkly humourous irony in the neocons' support of democracy resulting in governments that are hostile to Israel.

From Egypt comes news that the Muslim Brotherhood, the leading party after three rounds of parliamentary elections, may submit the Camp David Accords--the 1979 peace treaty with Israel signed by the undemocratic regime of President Anwar Sadat--to approval in a referendum. There's always been opposition in Egypt to the Camp David Accords, and it was the lack of democracy that prevented that opposition from making headway. As reported by Jack Khoury of Haaretz, January 1, 2012:

The Muslim Brotherhood movement may bring the fate of Egypt's peace treaty to a referendum, the Islamist factions said on Sunday, adding that there wasn't any chance that the movement will recognize Israel.

Results from Egypt's recent parliamentary vote, which saw considerable gains for Islamist factions such as the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice party and the radical Salafi movement's Al-Nour Party, have caused some to question the future of Israel's 1979 peace treaty with its neighbor to the south.

Addressing this issue on Sunday, the deputy chief of the Muslim Brotherhood Rashad al-Bayoumi told London's Al-Hayat newspaper that Egypt may choose to revise its peace treaty with Israel, hinting at the possibility that the pact's future could be determined through a referendum.

Al-Bayoumi emphasized that the Islamist movement would respect all of the international agreements to which Egypt is signatory, adding, however, that each side had the right to review the peace deal, and that the Egyptian people have yet to speak their mind.

"We weren't party to the peace treaty, it was signed away from the Egyptian people and thus the people must have its say," the Muslim Brotherhood official said.

Referring to the issue of recognizing Israel, al-Bayoumi said that the Muslim Brotherhood was not required to recognize Egypt's neighbor to the north, saying that Israel was an "occupying entity and we will not allow anyone of our members to meet with an Israeli."

"I won't allow myself to meet with a criminal and there's no chance that we'll cooperate with Israel," the Egyptian official said.

Last week, the Iranian semi-official Fars news agency quoted top Egyptian opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei as saying that the future of Israel's peace treaty with Egypt was at the center of a recent and secret round of talks between U.S. officials and members of the Egyptian Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

"The negotiations were completely secret and confidential," ElBaradei told Fars, adding that what the ruling military indicated "said was that the talks were about bilateral and mutual relations, but I believe that Americans wanted to ensure that the deals signed between Egypt and Israel will remain intact if Islamists ascend to power."

Speaking to Egyptian media on the subject last week, new Israeli envoy to Egypt Yaakov Amitai was asked if he was concerned about the political rise of the Muslim Brotherhood.

He replied that he did not wish to get involved in Egypt's internal affairs and needed to study the situation further.

Until now, the Israeli government has not attempted to open official contacts with the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Jerusalem official's comments are unusual in light of the Brotherhood's failure to recognize Israel.

However, representatives of the Islamic movement have told American diplomats that the group did not intend to seek the revocation of Egypt's peace treaty with Israel.
Let us pray that peace between Israel and Egypt will continue, even if it may be temporary. A lasting peace, when Egypt will worship the true God, will come when the Lord returns, as prophesied in Isaiah:

In that day shall there be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the LORD.
And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt: for they shall cry unto the LORD because of the oppressors, and he shall send them a saviour, and a great one, and he shall deliver them.
And the LORD shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the LORD in that day, and shall do sacrifice and oblation; yea, they shall vow a vow unto the LORD, and perform it.
And the LORD shall smite Egypt: he shall smite and heal it: and they shall return even to the LORD, and he shall be intreated of them, and shall heal them.
In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians.
In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land:
Whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance.
Isaiah 19:19-25

HT: Vox Popoli

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