Over the Horizon: Israel’s ‘Zero Friendships With Neighbors’ Future

Over the Horizon: Israel’s ‘Zero Friendships With Neighbors’ Future

Over the past two weeks, Israel has seen two critical strategic relationships with key regional allies nearly collapse. In Cairo, protesters stormed the Israeli Embassy, causing property damage but no injuries. This came on the heels of a border incident in Sinai, in which Israeli soldiers in pursuit of Palestinian militants accidentally killed several Egyptian soldiers. The Israeli government has taken steps to reduce tensions with Egypt, but the ability of the latter's transitional military government to mend fences is unclear. As for the willingness of any new Egyptian government to spend political capital on maintaining a good relationship with Israel, that is similarly unclear, and in light of the recent events in Cairo, it seems unlikely that Israel can count on Egypt as a reliable ally.

Meanwhile, the deterioration of Israeli relations with Turkey appears to have accelerated, with Turkey expelling the Israeli ambassador over the still-unresolved Gaza flotilla dispute, followed by reports that Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman may be planning to meet with leaders of the Kurdish Workers Party, an Iraq-based terrorist group that targets Turkey in a quest for Kurdish independence.

Combined with the longstanding enmity between Israel and Iran, this means that Israel faces a potential future in which it has acrimonious relationships with its three largest and most powerful neighbors. Israel has never faced this situation before: During the period of constant conflict with Egypt, Israel maintained cordial relations with Iran and Turkey, while the Camp David Accords that secured peace with Egypt roughly coincided with the Iranian Revolution that installed a hostile regime in Tehran.

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