If you weren’t already worried about the direction events are heading in in Egypt, here’s one more reason to be worried: Jimmy Carter’s feeling good about things. Carter, who was in the country monitoring the recent elections, had this to say about the impact of the new Egyptian government on the Middle East peace process:
This new government will probably be much more concerned about the rights of the Palestinians than have the previous rulers or leaders in Egypt, but in my opinion that will be conducive to a better prospect of peace between Israel and its neighbors.
But the only real difference between the Mubarak government and his successors is that the latter are good friends with the Hamas terrorists who run Gaza. In Carter’s distorted worldview, support for Palestinian Islamists is synonymous with “Palestinian rights.” That’s bad enough, but to think the opening up of Hamas’s supply lines and its increased influence will actually lead to peace is so contrary to logic and reason the only conclusion one can draw from such a statement is that any development that heightens Israel’s isolation and increases the danger of terrorism is something the 39th president regards with complacence.
The Mubarak government had an ambivalent attitude toward the peace process. It was determined to keep the peace with Israel as cold as possible and often contributed rather than calmed tensions. But it was sometimes a better friend to the Palestinians than they understood. If at times Mubarak did his best to alienate Israel while still observing the peace treaty, it was often the result of his speaking up for the Palestinian Authority and backing its obstructionism.
The Palestinians have accused the Egyptians of abandoning them after signing the peace treaty with Israel that Carter helped broker. But any tension between Egypt and the Palestinians was the result of the refusal of Yasir Arafat and his successor Mahmoud Abbas to make the historic compromises that Anwar Sadat made.
It’s worth remembering Sadat made his historic trip to Jerusalem not as the result of prodding by the United States but specifically to head off a U.S. initiative that would have brought the Soviet Union into negotiations and undermined the interests of both Israel and Egypt. In the subsequent talks in which he took part, Carter’s role was such that his antagonism for Israel became as much of an obstacle to peace as anything else. Since then, he has never ceased blaming Israel for everything that happens in the region and subscribing to noxious slanders about it being an “apartheid state.”
Carter’s optimism about the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and its Hamas allies tells us everything we need to know about the prospects for peace. If he is pleased, then it is a certainty that trouble looms.