Thursday Nov 17, 201105:47 PM GMT
Egypt uprising, opportunity for Palestine
Sat Feb 12, 2011 3:50PM
Mohioddin Sajedi
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Palestinians wave Egyptian flags, celebrating the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy will have to pay the heavy price of his cabinet members close friendship with the Middle East dictators.

Based on a report by France 24, French newspaper Le Canard enchaîne, which is printed in Paris, wrote that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak footed the whole bill for French Prime Minister Francois Fillon's Christmas vacation as a gift.

The French premier's office has confirmed receiving such a gift.

French Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie visited Tunisia, at the height of the country's unrests, with her husband and parents, and used the private plane belonging to a well-known and wealthy Tunisian merchant, who was also the brother-in-law of ousted President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, to fly over the Mediterranean coast and some Tunisian cities.

She had also proposed a couple of days prior to Ben Ali's ouster for Paris to begin serious security cooperation with Tunis in order to maintain the safety of the former Tunisian president before he fled the country.

It is also rumored in France that the French president had ordered for weapons and riot control equipment to be sent to Tunisia, but the authority in charge of the French airport noticed in the nick of time that Ben Ali had fled Tunisia and prevented the plane from taking off.

French opposition lawmakers called the trips a disgrace for Paris and the country's diplomatic apparatus and demanded the foreign minister resigns.

Segolene Royal, Sarkozy's former rival in the 2006 presidential elections considers Alliot-Marie's action a blow to the credit and reputation of French diplomacy and calls the female minister a liar like Sarkozy.

France's stubborn president is not likely to accept these requests, but it at least clarifies that an important European government such as Paris prefers dictatorships in the Middle East and North the US.

The premier and the foreign minister's vacations in Tunisia shows that Paris did not have a correct understanding of the developments in the African nation and considered Ben Ali's regime a stable one, just like US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the Egyptian government stable, in the early days of the Egyptian revolution which started on January 25.

This very ignorance about the existing realities is visible in the UK Foreign Secretary William Hague's interview with the British paper The Times.>.

Although, he dismisses the Israeli regime's hostile remarks regarding Egypt's revolution and its subsequent repercussions, Hague says, “It's a time to inject greater urgency into the Middle East peace process.”

Hague lacks an answer to the questions about why Britain backed Ben Ali for 23 years? And why Mubarak's family is allowed to freely live in London without fearing that their assets might be frozen?

Most of the Arab countries in the Middle East were formed during British and French colonial rule and it is most unlikely that these powers are unaware of the developments in these states--their former colonies.

One can only presume that the intelligence reports that reached London and the analyses of those data just could not compete with the allure of opportunities for investments and military and economic deals.

Concerns over the future of the fragile peace and relations with Egypt reverberate in the daily remarks of Israeli officials. Chief of General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces Gabi Ashkenazi has warned of a fresh war in the Middle East unlike any other.

The US, France, Britain and Israel's other Western allies are also evidently concerned. Perhaps Israeli officials are more realistic in staying mum on the topic of the “peace process” -- since the revolution in Egypt has pulled the rug out from under their feet.

The so-called “peace process” is not only paralyzed without Egypt's cooperation but has no hope of bearing fruit. Regardless of whatever fate awaits Egypt, the fact is that the country will never return to its pre-January 25 days.

Holding free general and presidential elections in Egypt will certainly bring to power politicians who do not see relations with Israel or aiding Tel Aviv in blockading the Gaza Strip as a guarantee to prolonging their political lifespan.

Cairo has announced that no Palestinians are allowed to enter the country until further notice. The order is aimed at keeping ordinary Gazans from entering the Sinai desert but will inevitably also include Palestinian Authority officials like acting PA Chief Mahmoud Abbas and chief negotiator Saeb Erekat.

Due to the divisions in the Egyptian armed forces and the fact that they have concentrated their personnel in the capital and elsewhere to quell national protests, the army does not have even the means to provide its soldiers on the border with Gaza with daily sustenance. It is actually the Gazans who are feeding them!

One would expect this dramatic comedy of errors to have even prepared Britain for the fate that awaits the Middle East talks.

“So we continue to work and engage the parties as we've done throughout this process,” US State Department spokesman Philip J Crowley said in January following a meeting between Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak with Obama, Clinton, and national security adviser, Tom Donilon.

It seems very unlikely that Barak's trip is about strengthening the Israeli-Palestinian talks. It rather reeks of a scheme for an Israeli or NATO-led assault on the Sinai desert or finding a way to keep the Suez Canal safe from the unrest.

Now is the best time for Mahmoud Abbas to take his proposal for the formation of an independent Palestinian state to the United Nations. Such a proposal would burden the US with its usual difficulties in vetoing Israel-related resolutions.

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