Try digitalPLUS for 10 days for only $0.99

Op-Eds

News Opinion Op-Eds

Egypt's Morsi is Hamas' new best friend

The chameleon is finally showing his true colors.

Since taking office in June, Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's not-so-new president, has been equivocating, trying to balance Egypt's longstanding diplomatic and financial relationship with the West with his true self: a Muslim Brotherhood fundamentalist who is contemptuous of the West, hates Israel and wants to turn Egypt into a fully Islamic state.

"He speaks of moderation for the West," Perihan Abou-Zeid, a 28-year-old Egyptian officer for a media-production company in Cairo, told me. "But then when Salafists blow up churches, there are no arrest warrants." And Egypt experts agree: You can't be a Muslim Brotherhood officer without holding as your goal the imposition of Shariah law nationwide.

When Hamas began firing hundreds of missiles at Israel last week, and Israel understandably responded, Mr. Morsi's deceptive duality fell away. He gave himself away.

He sent his prime minister to Gaza City. There, Prime Minister Hisham Qandil theatrically broke into tears at the sight of a boy injured in Israel's retaliatory bombing and said, "What I am witnessing in Gaza is a disaster, and I can't keep quiet. The Israeli aggression must stop."

Mr. Morsi also withdrew Egypt's ambassador from Tel Aviv, lectured Israel's ambassador to Cairo and publicly castigated Israel for what he called "wanton aggression on the Gaza Strip."

All of that is so typical for Muslim fundamentalists. Neither Mr. Morsi nor any other Egyptian official offered even glancing acknowledgment of the rocket volleys Hamas fired into Israel. That's what ignited this current crisis, not anything Israel did -- other than to exist.

This time, Hamas' arsenal included longer-range missiles, though they're still unguided. Several hit suburbs of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Find me a single nation on earth -- including Egypt -- that would not respond if terrorists fired missiles at its two largest cities.

"Shooting into the most important city is like shooting rockets into New York," said Tzipi Hotovely, an Israeli Knesset member.

Mr. Morsi's hypocrisy here is of the sort that has been on full display ever since Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007. Before, when Israel and Hamas fought, we didn't hear much comment from Hosni Mubarak and other Egyptian leaders. But now, Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas prime minister, said in a televised speech: "Today's Egypt is unlike that of yesterday." With that, he also thanked Mr. Morsi "for the quick and brave decisions he made."

Mr. Mubarak considered Hamas the enemy. The rest of the world still does, with the exception of some Arab leaders and Muslim extremist groups -- even though Hamas is nothing more than an unrepentant, unchanging terror group.

"From our ideological point of view, it is not allowed to recognize that Israel controls one square meter of historic Palestine," Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior Hamas leader, told me when I visited him 10 years ago. Then, just a few days ago, Abu Obeida, spokesman for Hamas's military wing, said: "We are sending a short and simple message: There is no security for any Zionist on any single inch of Palestine."

Obdurate, unredeemable, the leaders of Hamas can now rely on Mr. Morsi as their new best friend. The Arabian Business News, a Gulf-based publication, described the new relationship as "an unprecedented display of solidarity." Hamas was born of the Muslim Brotherhood, as were most leaders of al-Qaida. So now that we can see the direction Mr. Morsi wants to take Egypt, it's a fearsome thing.

For one thing, he's on record disparaging Egypt's peace treaty with Israel. Almost two years ago, before he had any idea he'd be running for office, Mr. Morsi was a senior Muslim Brotherhood officer. He offered his view that a new parliament needed to review the treaty with Israel.

The treaty, he added, "talked about a just and comprehensive peace, and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. Where is that peace, and where is that state?" (That stated concern is fair, but until recently the Palestinians shared at least equal blame.)

Right now, some other Muslim Brotherhood leaders are openly calling for cancellation of the treaty with Israel.

Meantime, in Cairo and Alexandria last weekend, thousands of young Egyptians held riotous demonstrations, waving Palestinian flags and in some cases shouting "Death to Israel! Death to America! To Gaza we're going, millions of martyrs!"

Unlike during the Mubarak days, Egyptian police stood by and watched while, in Cairo the same day, Mr. Morsi issued another statement.

Egypt, he declared, "will not leave Gaza on its own," while warning "the aggressor to stop the bloodshed or face the wrath" of the new Egypt.

Joel Brinkley, a professor of journalism at Stanford University, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning former foreign correspondent for the New York Times.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • In Egypt, it is darkest before dawn

    In Egypt, it is darkest before dawn

    Morsi's decree sent protesters back in the streets — and that represents progress

  • Lunch with an ex-con: How about it, Loretta Lynch?

    Lunch with an ex-con: How about it, Loretta Lynch?

    As an ex-con, I was thrilled to witness Pope Francis take in an impromptu lunch with 90 inmates — 10 of whom were invited from an area of the jail that housed gay, transgender or HIV-positive prisoners — at a detention center in Poggiorale, Italy, last March. Exhilarated further when, a week or...

  • Racism is a spiritual issue

    More than 1,500 United Methodists representing the 641 churches of the Baltimore-Washington Conference are gathered in Baltimore for our annual meeting right now. We will be about the business of the church, but in our holy conferencing, the echoes of racism and injustice will tug at our souls.

  • Renew the Ex-Im Bank's charter

    The relatively unknown Export-Import Bank is a loan guaranty entity of the federal government that assists U.S. companies to grow their export of products. Founded in 1934 as a part of the New Deal legislation, the bank's charter has been renewed on a bi-partisan basis without controversy since...

  • Sex among the ruins

    Sex among the ruins

    Netflix must know something nobody else does because they created a show about old people having sex.

  • Where it was made matters

    Where it was made matters

    She walked slowly up the aisle, picking up every single blender on the shelf in Sears. Holiday music played joyfully in the background. "It's all made in China," she said, gently returning the box to the shelf. Disappointment flashed across her face as she slowly moved on to the next box.

  • Educators call for an end to PARCC testing

    Educators call for an end to PARCC testing

    While a modest reduction in the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) testing hours, announced last week, is a step in the right direction, it does not go far enough to address the many problems of the new online, high-stakes standardized assessment.

  • Can the GOP win back the White House?

    Can the GOP win back the White House?

    So far, the 2016 Republican presidential primary is a complete puzzle to me.

Comments
Loading

77°