What Egypt Will Change For Israel

Jeff Strabone offers some thoughts:

The top two recipients of U.S. aid for the past thirty years have been have been Israel and Egypt. Israel's annual gift has ranged from $2.3 to $3.1 billion a year over the last decade, Egypt's from $1.5 to $2.0 billion. Without the many billions to Israel over the years, their republic might not have endured for the past 62 years. Without the many billions to Egypt, Israel would not have had a friend at its southwestern border. Looked at starkly, the U.S. has paid Mubarak to be Israel's friend at the cost of the livelihoods of the 80 million Egyptians whose hopes and aspirations he stifled for the past thirty years. This is a depressing calculus of human suffering, and that's without factoring in the suffering of the Palestinians.

It's safe to say that no democratically-elected successor in Egypt will be as Israel-friendly as Mubarak was. Why does this prospect alarm Israel? Israel has depended on Egypt for at least two things whose terms are likely to change: border security at Gaza and energy supply.

Israel had a chance to get ahead of events by making real concessions on the West Bank. Netanyahu doubled down on Greater Israel. I'm pretty sure the Arab 1848 will harden Israel's stance toward giving up its settlements. But one also wonders what the Palestinian position would be today if they had adopted non-violent resistance as a tactic instead of terrorism for so long. Both sides have missed an opportunity. But with the Obama administration caving to AIPAC on settlements at the UN, the US missed an opportunity as well.