What is happening between Israel and Egypt

Is the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt really shaky? Last Sunday, a senior Egyptian official told theAssociated Press that a possible extension of the military operation in Rafah by the Jewish State would have put at risk the historic agreement signed in 1979. A position from which Cairo almost immediately went into reverse.

“The peace agreement with Israel has been Egypt's strategic choice for 40 years and represents a fundamental pillar in the region for achieving peace and stability,” declared the Egyptian Foreign Minister, again on Sunday, Sameh Shoukryadding that there are some “pre-established mechanisms” aimed at addressing possible violations of the treaty itself.

Yet, a few hours ago, the Wall Street Journal reported that Egypt is considering downgrading its diplomatic ties with Israel, according to officials in Cairo. Not only. Despite playing a role in trying to broker a hostage deal between Hamas and the Jewish state, the Egyptian government announced a few days ago that it would join South Africa in its genocide lawsuit against Israel at the International Court of Justice.

All this highlights how relations between Jerusalem and Cairo are becoming increasingly tense. This situation is mainly dictated by Egypt's irritated concern over the Israeli operation against Rafah. Probably, given the conflicting signals coming from Cairo, a debate is taking place within the Egyptian government itself on the future of relations with the Jewish state.

Now, we don't know how the issue will evolve. The point is that the growing tension between Israel and Egypt must be monitored carefully. Let us remember that, in 1994, the Jewish state also signed a peace treaty with Jordan. However, while relations between Jerusalem and Amman have often been fluctuating, those between Israel and Egypt have tended to be more solid after 1979.

It should also be noted that the Israeli-Egyptian fibrillations are occurring just as the logic of the 2020 Abraham Accords returns to the fore. Despite having initiated détente with Tehran last year, the Saudis appear increasingly concerned about regional politics and from Iran's nuclear ambitions: a factor that is slowly bringing them closer to the United States and Israel. It is no coincidence that both in Riyadh and large parts of the Israeli government are betting on a return of Donald Trump at the White House: when he becomes president again, the Republican candidate would in fact intend to restore the policy of “maximum pressure” on the Khomeinist regime. An essential precondition for promoting a rapprochement between the Israelis and Saudis, who are united by fear of Tehran's nuclear moves.

All the more reason, therefore, relations between Egypt and Israel must be carefully monitored. The risk is that excessive fibrillation on this front could have negative impacts on the re-emergence of the logic on which the Abraham Accords are based. A logic that must be safeguarded if we really want to try to restabilize the Middle East.