The Israeli ambassador to Cairo and about eighty other Israelis flew out of Cairo to Tel Aviv on a military plane under cover of darkness. They were lucky to escape with their lives. A huge crowd had attacked the Israeli embassy, overpowering the ninety police on duty, storming into several rooms and throwing files out into the street. The military officers now ruling the country have declared an emergency.
Some days ago, Palestinian terrorists from Gaza disguised themselves in Egyptian uniforms and crossed Egyptian territory to attack southern Israel. In the firefight the terrorists and eight Israelis were killed, but so were five Egyptian border guards whom the Israelis identified wrongly. The Muslim Brothers refuse to accept this as the sort of mistake that occurs all too easily in such circumstances, and they have whipped up this crisis in order to break off the treaty that has kept the peace with Israel since 1979.
This is a repeat of the earlier row that also originated from Gaza. Turkish Islamists were determined to run the blockade imposed by Israel to prevent the smuggling of weapons to Hamas. Israeli commandos boarded the incoming ship, and in the ensuing fracas killed nine Turkish Islamists. The Israeli government refused to apologize for this act of self-defense, whereupon Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan declared the Israeli ambassador to Ankara persona non grata.
Two major Muslim countries have simultaneously experienced, or engineered, a diplomatic confrontation with Israel. On another front, Hamas has its headquarters in Damascus. In the light of the massacres committed daily by the Syrian security forces, Hamas seems to be about to move its headquarters to Cairo. In that case, Hamas may be able to mobilize popular support in Egypt for future terrorism against Israel, greatly inhibiting Israel’s counter-terror options.
Later this month the United Nations will be pursuing a two-track anti-Israel policy, voting on the establishment of a Palestinian state, and on a resolution that Israel is uniquely racist. Iranian President Ahmedinejad has promised that he will be attending in New York to make his familiar speech about the imminent genocide of all Jews.
Quite possibly all this is posturing, but it is beginning to look as if the Arab Spring is the fancy description of another dire round of self-destruction.