If Egypt falls to the Brotherhood, Hamas could “go overseas”.



It needs no overstating that what happens next in Egypt is of crucial importance to not only Israel but the world.

It is obviously not right for the Egyptians to live under the yoke of oppression and poverty but as a people they need to draw lessons from the Iranian Revolution of 1979 so as to not go from one extreme to another.

In the rush for deserved freedom they could end up worse off.

In the 1979 Revolution Ayatollah Khomene’i was the figurehead behind which liberals, communists and religious Muslims coalesced to force out the Shah.

But once the Shah was ousted that coalition was soon quashed in a bloody Islamist coup, which led to the installation of extreme religious rule and a worse civil liberties situation than under the Shah.

Egypt is at a similar stage. The banned Muslim Brotherhood, of which Hamas is an offshoot, has not been actively calling its supporters on to the streets but their presence is casting a dark shadow over proceedings and they will make their play for power when the time is right.

If Egypt ends up like Iran then all bets are off. The Israel-Egypt peace treaty will be under serious threat and for the first time in 38 years the prospect of war between Israel and an Arab country will be rekindled.

Then there’s Hamas. The “siege” of Gaza by Egypt has been far more brutal than anything Israel has imposed.

But an Islamist Egyptian government, whether democratically elected or imposed by force, would allow Hamas freedom of movement through Egypt which would increase its access to Israel and the rest of the world.

An Israeli woman was murdered after the Gaza-Egypt border was breached by frustrated Gazans in February 2008 when a suicide bomber from Gaza crossed into Israel from Egypt.

Israel needs to complete the security wall that will run the length of its long border with Egypt as soon as possible.

Some argue that, unlike Al Qaida, Hamas’ terrorism is purely limited to attacks on Israel. But lack of international activity by Hamas could well be purely down to lack of opportunity due to it being hemmed in Gaza and cracked down on in the West Bank.

Hamas could take heart from just how successful the PLO was in bombing its way to the negotiating table.

Although the PLO attacked civilians in Israel 181 times between 1967 and 1979 between that same period there were at least 201 PLO attacks on aircraft and other civilians outside Israel, which, all told, involved attacks on the property and civilians of some 40 countries (Israel and Palestine – Assault on the Nations of Law, Julius Stone).

With freedom to operate freely through Egypt Al Qaida style international bomb attacks by Hamas could make Western nations pressurise Israel even more. Countries attacked might threaten to withdraw support for Israel if Israeli doesn’t acquiesce in making concessions that could compromise its own security.

In the same vein Spain withdrew its troops from Iraq after the Madrid bombings.

Hezbollah, which claims to be protecting Lebanon from Israeli aggression, “went overseas”. In 1992 it killed 29 people when it blew up the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires and in 1994 87 died when it blew up the Jewish Community centre located in the AMIA building in the same city.

Although international warrants were issued for arrests of the perpetrators they are now safely ensconced in Iran. Hezbollah has denied involvement just as it is denying involvement in the assassination of Rafiq Hariri.

Hamas is an acronym for “Islamic Resistance Movement”. “Palestine” does not feature in its name and it has never claimed any pretence that its terrorist operations were restricted to what it considers “Palestine”.

Unlike the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) at least Hamas is honest in that respect.

30 responses to “If Egypt falls to the Brotherhood, Hamas could “go overseas”.

  1. Indeed a scary prospect with potentially catastrophic consequences

  2. The situation in Egypt increases the urgency of fixing the Israel-Palestine conflict

    My review of Stephen Kinzer’s book on Amazon

    Peace in our time? A path for progress, 30 Jan 2011

    This review is from: Reset Middle East: Old Friends and New Alliances: Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, Iran (Paperback)

    Stephen Kinzler provides a compelling account of the USA’s past involvement with its two principal potential allies in the area: Turkey and – surprisingly – Iran. He then advances the concept that only by working with these countries can a lasting peace be achieved in the Middle East; given the continuing failure of the Israelis and Palestinians to achieve this in N iterations of the ‘peace process’ since 1948 this may have to be imposed.

    His succinct summary:- `The way to peace between Israelis and Palestinians is clear to all and has been for years. Israel will evacuate nearly all of its settlements in the West Bank, and give Palestinians land elsewhere to compensate for the settlements it keeps. A demilitarized Palestinian state will be created in the West Bank and Gaza. Its capital, like Israel’s, will be Jerusalem. Palestinians will have the right to return to this state from wherever they are, and to be compensated for land and homes they lost in what is now Israel. All states in the region will recognize each other and pledge to resolve future disputes peaceably.’
    One hopes that his ideas find receptive ears on Capitol Hill.

  3. richardmillett

    Richard, please, how many times? There is no “right of return”. Why do you keep mentioning it ad nauseam?

    • Your house of cards is crumbling.

      It is obviously not right for the Egyptians to live under the yoke of oppression.

      Nope. Never heard you complain about that before either…

  4. Will Jews be compensated for land and homes they lost in Jerusalem, Hebron etc?

  5. Well, Richard, that’s how the great thinker Kinzer sees it.

  6. Richard:
    The way I read it the “right of return” would be to the new Palestinina state.
    Do you object to that?

    Compensation will be cheaper than warfare.
    I suggest you read SK’s book. You will find the dedication striking.

    • richardmillett

      Well then it wouldn’t be called a “right of return” as the Palestinians wouldn’t consider themselves “returning” to Israel. But of course i have no objection to a Palestinian state taking in the so-called “refugees”. That is the only sensible option. But i don’t see how Kinzer’s plan differs from what has been offered by Barak in 2000 and Olmert in 2008.

  7. “Compensation will be cheaper than warfare.
    I suggest you read SK’s book. You will find the dedication striking”

    Capitulation and suicide are also a lot cheaper, but that’s the only plus side.

    Dedication as in commitment, or written dedication by some other expert?

  8. Richard, You understand the danger but nothing Obama or Clinton has said so far suggests they do.

  9. richardmillett

    And isn’t it odd that we haven’t heard the word “disproportionate” in relation to Mubarak from our politicians.

    • Would I be too cynical if I suggested that this may have just a little to do with the fact that the IDF isn’t involved? Nah … slap my wrist and tell me not to be so silly.
      But I’d like to run a sweepstake on how long it’ll be before some politican or someone at Al Independent, Al Guardian or even Al Beeb or Channel al Arba blames the Mossad or Israel or world Jewry/Zionism for the unrest. I am reserving ‘sometime in the next 6 hours’ for myself.

  10. Michael Goldman

    Richard T
    The conflict with Israel has nothing to do with a “Palestinian” state.
    It is simply that in general our neighbours don’t want us around.
    They tried to destroy us the moment the state was declared but with G-d’s help we have survived and even thrived.
    Where was the “Palestinan Problem” then?
    We destroyed our own homes in Gush Katif in order to give away the land, only to find that the land was used as a base to bombard us with shells.
    We gave away as a great chunk of land to Egypt which may or may not have been the reason for the peace or a lack of war for nearly 40 years, but after recent events this too may be shown to have been a futile sacrifice which will only bring our enemies closer to our door.
    If the recent events in Egypt have taught us anything it is that we live in a volatile area.
    All you guys who think that we’ll give them a state and they will sign a piece
    of paper and peace will reign supreme just don’t understand the mentality in the region.
    Even if the entity we make a peace agreement with really wants peace ( and that’s by no means a given) they could be overthrown by Islamic fundamentalists or some other Jew hating group in the bat of an eye.
    Sorry to say this but the two Richards just don’t seem to understand what’s really going on here.

  11. Hi Richard Tebboth,

    I know that you mean well and want what is best for Israel and please do not take anything I say personally, especially as we don’t know each other.

    You “succinctly” summarize a book that apparently reflects your opinion:

    “The way to peace between Israelis and Palestinians is clear to all and has been for years. Israel will evacuate nearly all of its settlements in the West Bank, and give Palestinians land elsewhere to compensate for the settlements it keeps. A demilitarized Palestinian state will be created in the West Bank and Gaza. Its capital, like Israel’s, will be Jerusalem. Palestinians will have the right to return to this state from wherever they are, and to be compensated for land and homes they lost in what is now Israel. All states in the region will recognize each other and pledge to resolve future disputes peaceably.”

    I find the “..is clear to all and has been for years…” rather vexing to begin with. Who exactly is this mysterious “all” to whom you refer? Is it the Israeli electorate who, though many are prepared to compromise in exchange, have time and again rejected electoral candidates standing on such platforms? Are they the Palestinian people who in a reasonably fair election chose the Hamas as their leadership, its platform calls for the dismantling of Israel? Who exactly are this “all” to whom everything has been so clear for years?

    I also find the “..All states in the region will recognize each other and pledge to resolve future disputes peaceably…” to be as absurd as it is naïve. How exactly will that work? Will the leaders of the Shi’ite Insurgency in Yemen now put down their arms because Israel and the Palestinians have signed a deal? Will all terrorism in Iraqi cease and desist too because of this clever agreement? What about the conflict between Turkey and their Kurds? And the Islamic insurgency in the Maghreb, will that be solved too? How? Why?
    I have intentionally not touched on the brilliantly original formula itself, an old and tired “solution”, which basically means Israel (G-d forbid) being the first country in the world to create a state whose purpose for being will be to destroy her.

    Finally, I am old enough to remember all the starry eyed believers who had read new books and were in favor of Israel returning the whole Sinai to Egypt in return for real peace. We asked what will happen if one day the Sadat regime is replaced by those who might renounce the treaty. It was explained to us that firstly this could never happen, and secondly in such an eventuality the US would guarantee the deal. It took a few years, but it now seems clear that they were wrong about the first part. Let’s hope those books got the second part right.

    As Michael Goldman said, it seems that our friends occasionally need reminding that the Middle East is indeed a dangerous neighborhood. It’s not the US Mid-West or even North-East London and we do have some experience with our neighbors.

    • as to guarantees –

      Commentary’s extensive and minute reporting IN 1967 about the world of 1967 convinced me that guarantees have a drawback i.e. when it would be necessary for the guarantor to act on them that happens due to very good reasons and major concerns not feasible i.e. whoever is the guarantor will in the event quite often find that attending to the well-fare of his own people/state/nation provides wiggle room.

      in other words a guarantee is only worth something when guaranteeing it happens to be at the time in the interest of the guarantor and as it is the duty of every state to first and foremost work for the benefit of her own inhabitants that can never be otherwise.

      on the other hand, if a guarantee happens to fit what the guarantor happens to think good for his own then a guarantee provides a good reason/excuse to act.

      i.e. in the end what a guarantee is worth is subject to circumstances nobody can foresee for any period of time.

  12. Daniel
    Thank you for your reasoned response.
    I do agree with the opinion expressed by Stephen Kinzer. I suggest you read his book, appreciate his perspective drawn from wider personal experience and geo-political history, and engage in debate with him.
    If there can never be a peaceful 2 state solution what is the alternative?
    One state? Or, worst case, zero states following a nuclear Armeggedon?
    It is vital that those who want peace prevail over the extremists.

    • Hi Richard,

      I’m often asked by visiting journalists, politicians and academics as to what my solution is. I reject “the Two State Solution” and I’m not prepared for Israel to stop being a Jewish state. I wish neither to give citizenship to all Palestinians living in Judea and Samaria, nor to expel them. I’m great at saying, “No” but rarely say “Yes”. What is my solution? How will I bring about peace and prosperity to all peoples of the Middle East in our lifetimes?

      My father made ten years after his children and was already quite sick with Parkinson’s disease. It is a cruel affliction that creeps up on you slowly. Later it transpired that he may have had signs for five or more years, but told nobody. The years in which he lived and died in Jerusalem were by far the pinnacle of his life. He once told me that he would have taken them rather than any number of healthy years in London.

      During that time my mother searched for a cure for Parkinson’s disease. No stone was left unturned and no doctor uncontacted. She joined and then ran a support group in Jerusalem that would meet, and where other desperate spouses would exchange information of new drugs, possibilities of surgery and so on.

      After several years a change took place. While my mother never actually gave up, there did come a time when they both came to terms with the fact that at that point in time the miracle cure just didn’t exist. There were ways to slow down deterioration and even improve the quality of life, but at that moment there was no “solution”.

      One might think that the realization that not every problem has a solution or in the words of Johnny Cash, “There are more questions than answers” would lead to a state of desolation or despondency, but quite the contrary. That is exactly the point where you life goes off being on hold and you begin to live again. Maybe you’ll never run again, but there are plenty of places to walk to. Maybe you’ll be forever falling over, but you’ll be forever getting up too. And there are children to reprimand and grandchildren to enjoy and there is a G-d in heaven to serve too, who waits for the prayers of the sick as he does for the healthy.

      Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman recently spoke about the peace process and predicted that there would be no peace, “not next year and not for the next generation”. On the face of it this was a message of pessimism and gloom, hardly appropriate for the eve of our Jewish new year when we traditionally wish each other the realization of all manner of wonderful aspirations. However, I contend that Lieberman’s blessing was the blessing of hope. He was taking a cold realistic look at the neighborhood in which we live and at our neighbors. He had the courage pragmatically to look at the Arab world for what it is, not what it might be one day or what we’d like it to be.

      As I said we live in the Middle East, not the US Mid-West or even the West End. Our neighbors, for the most part, are vastly more radical than either their fathers or grandfathers were. This has come about as a result of the spread of fundamentalist Islam and because Israel has shown weaknesses on various occasions, convincing them that the only language we understand is force.

      Short of the Messiah arriving, there will indeed be no peace in either our or our children’s generation. Perhaps the greatest challenge facing us today is to learn to live with the fact that this is indeed a problem without a solution.

      Of course everyone has a plan, but experience has shown that all attempts over the last four decades to solve the problem either by means of war or by means of force have brought about caused a deterioration rather than improvement.

      Naturally, that is not to say that there is nothing to be done, quite the contrary. Once one has come to the realization that there are no miracle cures or quick fixes, one ceases to be paralyzed in other areas of life. One’s life is no longer on hold, waiting for a solution, one can begin to live. Paradoxically, the realization that there is no solution becomes something of a solution in and of itself.

      It is only the true optimist who can find life, hope and happiness in a world with many unsolved questions, problems that he knows are here to stay.

      So we redecorate our houses without asking whether it will one day be given to another, we plant a tree and look forward to its fruits. We bring children into the world knowing that they too will one day don uniform. We drink wine from a local Judean vineyard read a good book or maybe write one, carry on studying our beloved Torah knowing we’ll never finish it. We teach our students to respect everyone friend and enemy alike, but secretly hope that they’ll respect at least us. We look at the old yellowing pictures in our albums of ancestors long gone, who could only have dreamt of waking up to the view of Jerusalem. We thank G-d for being the luckiest generation of Jews since the time of King David and three times a day we pray for peace too.

      With broken hearts we pray to our Maker that he might send us a year of peace, acknowledging that nobody else can.

      • Thanks for your characteristically inspiring comment Daniel. Always good to read.
        You do not mention what the existential threat to Israel and the free world is. Islamic jihad and Arab supremacism. It is mandated and incumbent upon Muslims to hate, subjugate or kill Jews, according to the teaching laid down in the Koran by Mohammed for eternity as the uncreated and immutable word of Allah. With an enemy like that, the only way peace can come about for Israel is the removal of Islam from the planet, one way or another. The conflict has nothing to do with land…it is a religious war being waged against the Jews.

      • That’s truly beautiful.

      • This was one of the most beautiful things I have read in ages. Your essay (I could hardly call it a comment) is enormously inspiring. Thank you Daniel.

      • Dannenbaum conjures up 5,000 syllables, manages to avoid the question.

        Nice sob story about Granddad though…

        Danny and his entire brood have dual citizenship (that thing that’s denied most… erm, ‘fakestinians’) so we know what way he’ll come wafting over when the dominos start to fall…

        The chickens have come home to roost. Cotcotcotco… deh!

      • thank you Daniel
        I won’t elaborate because I can’t so forgive me if I put it crudely – your rank amidst my favourite writers is secure.

  13. Yes, Richard, but it is pie in the sky to imagine that the extremists who want to annihilate Israel will become all nice and cuddly after reading the book. And the situation is not symmetrical, which many in the west simply fail to appreciate, because Israel is not planning a genocide whereas Hamas and Hezbollah are.

  14. Michael Goldman

    Good to see ya Gert
    I can’t speak for Daniel , but though I was born in England I haven’t had a British passport for twenty or thirty years and have no intention of getting one.
    In addition I have done nothing to further British citizenship for either my wife (may she live for many years) or kids (them too).
    Is that really the best you can do , a supposition?
    We are not all cowards who though willing to state catagorically exactly what Israel must do and claim that whoever disagrees is stupid (or worse) refuses to take an actual part of the risk.
    If we refused to be a part of the country or worse ran away we would obviously behave with the requiered modesty when stating our opinions as almost everyboy on this wonderful blog does.
    What question did Daniel ignore?
    Is that really the best that you can do?
    Can I take it that you agree with everyting that Daniel and myself wrote?

    • Michael
      judging from experiences I made while earning my living I’d say being entitled to dual citizenship is a blessing one should always keep alive
      especially since one never knows for what the extra passport may come in handy … like for example letting Mossad copy it???

  15. Hi Gert,

    Sorry you didn’t like what I wrote. Tell me the kind of thing you have in mind and I’ll see what I can do.I’ll certainly address your interesting questio regarding dual citizenship later in the next 24 hours, am in a rush now and it’ll take 5,000 syllables.

    Actually, I was wondering where you’d disappeared to since you promised to get back to us with your proof of the “incidencents”. Silke told me that you’d avoid the question and just waffle on about other things, but I said that I knew you to be a man of honor – one-nil to dear Silke.

    I’m sure you remember challenging Richard:

    “And perhaps Millett would also care to report on the increasing incidencents of Israelis calling for ‘Arabs to the ovens’? No, thought not.”

    Well, I did my best to report your “incidencents”


    What about you Gert. Found any damning evidence yet, or do you just continue to google endlessly?

    Either way, have a great day and regards from a rainy Maale Adumim


    Don’t forget those “incidencents”.

    • glad to learn it’s raining – hope it is the right kind of rain and hope that the blessing will continue

  16. ‘The “siege” of Gaza by Egypt has been far more brutal than anything Israel has imposed.’

    This claim puzzled me. I certainly wouldn’t argue that Egypt’s seige is brutal — there’s the underground ‘wall of shame’, the gassing of the tunnels, dreadful — but is it far more brutal than Israel?

    Surely numbers of deaths count here. Do you disagree? Or if we would prefer — as we should — a less distasteful measure, could we not use a comparison of the opportunity cost of trade lost between Gaza and Israel and Gaza and Egypt. Surely both measures are relevant, and both appear to tell against your claim.

  17. richardmillett

    B.B Do you really see any hardship in Gaza on an every day level when you see the pictures? Do you see starvation? Do you see real shortage? As for lost business opportunity, i agree. Then again there is some real opulence in Gaza. There is an extravagant hotel for example. There could be plenty more business opportunities if there is peace. And just imagine the tourists who would flood in. Israel, Gaza and Egypt would all benefit immensely. At the moment it seems that with Hamas in Gaza and a potential Muslim Brotherhood takeover in Egypt that won’t happen for a long time.

  18. Hi Gert,
    Sorry to have kept you waiting, I’ve been a bit busy with work – remember that nonsense?

    You write:

    “Danny and his entire brood have dual citizenship (that thing that’s denied most… erm, ‘fakestinians’) so we know what way he’ll come wafting over when the dominos start to fall…”

    Before relating to your main question, two short points of information. Firstly, friends don’t usually call me Danny, but I guess you can do as you like. Secondly, I have never heard used the expression “fakestinians”, nor shall I. Were I to do so, it would doubtlessly begin with a capital F.

    Now you ask me about my dual citizenship. I guess that after last week you firmly established that we bake Palestinians in our ovens (the increasing incidencents of Israelis calling for ‘Arabs to the ovens’?


    The next step this week is to argue that we are cosmopolitans with dual loyalties. Everything being well please G-d, by next year we should have reached the international Jewish bankers’ plot. I’ve been trying to get a piece of that action for years now.

    I was born in the UK and my family go back six generations. Both my grandfathers fought in the First World War, while my father was still a child in WWII. I left England when 18 after finishing high school. I do not hold a British passport, although to the best of my knowledge I and my children are entitled to, while my (Argentinean born) wife is not. I have visited the UK three or four times since immigrating, the last occasion was sixteen years ago.

    While my family lived for six or seven generations in England, to the best of my knowledge they were law-abiding, loyal citizens. I am aware that there are certain components of my personality, and even that of some of my children, that are derived from the fact that I was born in the UK. I am neither ashamed nor particularly proud of these – they are just a part of what I am.

    I am quite ignorant of UK politics, and since I have little vested interest in what happens there, rarely express an opinion about the issues facing British society. I would never tell your Prime Minister how to run his government nor would I tell a UK Jew what to do or not do. They would rightly tell me that their country and their life is none of my business. Naturally, I expect a similar respect from them regarding Israel, especially those who have consciously chosen not to live here.

    The phenomenon that you refer to of Israelis leaving Israel when things get tough is not unknown, indeed there were historical periods when more Jews left Israel than arrived. Interestingly, these people were not for the most part long-term immigrants and were rarely religious. I don’t blame those who leave as I know that not everyone has the strength of character needed to succeed here, but I do expect them to behave respectfully and not offer unsolicited advice. This applies to Left and Right wingers alike.

    When I returned here as a boy it was to a much poorer, more dangerous country. We were the only immigration of people in world history who chose to leave a richer, safer, more comfortable world in search of a harder, poorer life. We did it with our eyes wide open and while our UK classmates were in university we had already joined the IDF. When I look at our relative opulence, it’s sometimes hard to remember how modest our dreams were back then.

    Not once in all those years have I regretted that move or considered leaving. Not when Saddam Hussein announced he would bomb us and not when offered all kinds of interesting offers abroad.

    Every day I thank my Maker for finally doing what we prayed for over 2,000 years, for returning me to Zion in mercy.

    Have a great day,