November 20, 2012

Cairo's Choice: Lead on Gaza, or Follow Hamas

Faisal al Yafai, The National

AP Photo

The news that Egypt has invited an Israeli envoy to Cairo for ceasefire talks over Gaza encapsulates just how far Egypt has emerged, in a matter of months, as a country with real diplomatic heft.

Taking the lead position in mediating the most recent conflict is a welcome reassertion of the historic role of the Arab world's most populous country. Even if mediation fails, the fact that the Egyptians have made such swift diplomatic headway points to a new focus in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

And yet Cairo's mediation strategy is fraught with danger. Getting closely involved in internal Palestinian politics, at a time of such transition within Egypt, could pull Egyptian-Palestinian policy in one of two directions.

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TAGGED: Hamas, Gaza, Egypt

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