President Bush’s final meeting in his tour of the Middle East this week was with the Egyptian dictator, Hosni Mubarak:
Mubarak told reporters he updated Bush on Egypt’s position that “the Palestinian question, of course, is the core of problems and conflict in the Middle East, and it is the entry to contain the crisis and tension in the region, and the best means to face what’s going on in the world, and our region — I mean by that, the escalation of violence, extremism and terrorism.”
This is of course a standard presentation of Arab leaders to their American counterparts, and it would be wonderful to think that Bush politely asked Mubarak in reply why it is that if he actually believes that the Palestinian “question” is the “core” of the Middle East’s problems, Egypt has been undermining the United States at every step of the way in its effort to isolate Hamas and create some political saliency for the Abbas government.
Egypt has been complicit in allowing the proliferation of the tunnels under its border with Gaza that allow the smuggling of arms, cash, and terrorists to Hamas, in encouraging a Hamas-Fatah unity government (the last attempt at this, conducted by the Saudis, was followed by the Hamas takeover of Gaza), and overall in refusing to help the international effort to deny Hamas the means to continue its war on Israel.
If Mubarak actually wants to see peace between Israel and the Palestinians, why is his regime doing everything it can to provide aid and comfort to the Palestinian faction that is least interested in peace? The answer, of course, is that the Arab dictators have never actually been interested in a resolution of the conflict; it is too beneficial to their regimes. It would be fascinating to know what Bush’s reply was.