By Khalid Amayreh
Some Israeli officials have voiced surprise at revelations published by Wikileaks showing that the Egyptian military continues to view the apartheid Israeli regime as the primary strategic threat facing Egypt.
This is despite the passage of more than 30 years since the signing of the Camp David peace treaty between the two states in 1979.
According to the revelations, American diplomats have been frustrated as the Egyptian army continued to retain the erstwhile military doctrine which viewed Israel as the enemy.
The US, which is often at Israel and beck and call, has been trying to convince leading Arab states that their enemy is Iran and Sunni Islamist movements, such as Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, not Israel which committed a virtual genocide in Gaza two years ago and is constantly trying to kill the prospects of Palestinian statehood by keeping up the construction of Jewish colonies on stolen Arab land.
One leaked file quoted an unnamed American diplomat as saying that "the US has sought to interest the Egyptian military into expanding their mission in ways that reflect new regional and transnational security threats, such as piracy, border security and counterterrorism."
However, Egypt reportedly resisted the flagrant American intervention in shaping the Egyptian strategic military doctrine, with one high-ranking Egyptian army commander stressing that Israel was still targeting Egypt in a variety of ways, including having plans for the possible re-occupation of the Sinai Peninsula.
Well, it is an expression of daring audacity on the part of these arrogant American diplomats to expect the sons of Egypt to morph themselves into Israel lovers and forget the tens of thousands of Egyptians, civilians and servicemen, who were murdered by Israel.
The Egyptian people are not about to forget the massacres of Bahr el Bagar school, the Abu Za'abal factory, and the massacre of Egyptian POWs at the instruction of Ariel Sharon in addition to the indiscriminate bombings of Egyptian civilian areas during the so-called war of attrition prior to the 1973 war.
It is true that Egypt , mainly due to economic and other reasons, had to sign the infamous peace treaty at Camp David, which only formally ended the state of belligerency between Israel and largest and most powerful Arab country. But it is also true that the vast majority of Egyptians continued to hate Israel as a hostile and criminal entity despite all American inducements and bribes to create good chemistry between Egyptians and Israelis.
In the final analysis, it would be a form of morbid imagination to expect Egyptians, who nearly on a daily basis watch Zionist thugs and terrorists murder, terrorize and savage their coreligionists and brethren in Palestine and destroy their homes, bulldoze their farms, and expel them form their places of residence.
It is morbid imagination to expect members of the Egyptian armed forces to fall in love with the killers of their fathers and forefathers who fell in battle with Zionism on Palestinian and Egyptian soils.
It is even more morbid to expect the Egyptian armed forces to abandon their old doctrine and adopt a new one based on the unnatural and mendacious assumption which views other Arabs and Muslims, not Israel, which usurped Palestine and expelled its people to the four corners of the world, as the enemy.
Egypt and its kind-hearted people may not be going through the best of times. But what is in the heart is in the heart, and no amount of Kafkaesque metamorphosis would succeed in deviating the needle of the Egyptian people's compass away from its natural direction.
I know that Israelis can easily visit Egypt, dine in its restaurants and bask on its beaches. But it is also true that these Israelis who do so are often met with inimical eyes and sullen hostility wherever they go. I also know that these Israelis, especially those who would reveal their identity, never feel secure or at peace. This is why they stop speaking Hebrew in public and often claim to be Italians or other Europeans.
To be sure, Israel itself never came to view Egypt as a non-hostile state. In fact, one exaggerates little by saying that Israel continues to view Egypt as constituting the main strategic threat facing Israel. Yes Israel feels the threat is dormant, but it is real.
Moreover, it would be foolhardy on the part of Egyptian strategic planners to ignore or dismiss intelligence reports suggesting that Israel is constantly acting to destabilize and weaken Egypt in a variety of ways.
These include, inter alia, encouraging some expatriate Copts to rise up against the central government, encouraging Nile-basin countries such as Ethiopia to undermine Egyptian interests, keep Egyptian-Iranian relations in the worst possible state, and constantly threatening to instigate Congress, which is tightly controlled by the Jewish lobby, to press for reducing or cutting off US economic and military aid to Egypt if the Egyptian regime doesn't behave according to script.
A few years ago, Avigdor Lieberman, the thuggish Israeli foreign minister, went as far as threatening to bomb the Aswan Dam. This is what he said in public. One would wonder what he might have said in private.
Another point, which really illustrates both the temerity and naivety of many American diplomats, is the belief that cordial relations between Israel and an Arab-Muslim country are possible as long as the Palestinian plight remains unresolved. This is probably the reason the Americans couldn't bring themselves to understand the recent turnabout in the Israeli-Turkish relations.
Finally, I have one advice to the self-absorbed American diplomatic community. Don’t take Arab and Muslim peoples for granted, don't overlook the feelings of millions of Arabs and Muslims as this myopic approach would eventually boomerang onto you.
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|Liaquat Ali Khan|