Amid Fears Over the Collapse of the Regime, Will ‘Israel’ Support Egypt's Economy?

a year ago




After the five-party security meeting in Aqaba, “Tel Aviv” leaked information about its efforts to support Egypt’s collapsing economy in order to keep a regime that would strongly stand against the Palestinian resistance under the pretext of calming the tense Palestinian-Israeli relations.”

On February 26, the Palestinian and Israeli officials held a meeting along with U.S., Jordan, and Egypt representatives in Aqaba, southern Jordan.

There, Palestine and the Israeli Occupation agreed to stop unilateral measures for specific months.

The meeting came in light of the escalation of tension after the upsurge in Israeli settler violations and the individual resistance operations in Jerusalem (al-Quds) and the West Bank in recent months.

They also agreed to hold a meeting again in Sharm el-Sheikh in March 2023 to achieve the goals discussed at the Aqaba Summit.


Summit Results

The Kan 11 Hebrew Channel correspondent stated while covering the situation in Egypt and the Aqaba summit that “Israel” intends to provide support for Egypt that would strengthen the latter’s economy.

The reporter gave an example and said that Israeli economy delegations will visit Egypt to “revive” its collapsing economy, similar to a visit previously made by a delegation of Israeli businessmen led by Intelligence Director at the time (current Foreign Minister) Eli Cohen to Sharm el-Sheikh in 2021.

He stressed that the issue is under study and that it will include “expanding trade with Egypt and increasing the number of flights on the Sharm el-Sheikh line for Israeli tourists” in order to support Cairo’s economy.

On March 9, 2021, then-Israeli Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen visited Sharm el-Sheikh, for the first time since the January 25, 2011 revolution, accompanied by a huge security and economy delegation.

Despite talks of economic goals, the presence of 20 Israeli businessmen in all agricultural, industrial, and commercial fields, and about 60 Egyptian and Israeli businessmen holding joint meetings, it was reported that the goal was to support the Egyptian regime through economic projects.

During the same visit, Cohen inspected the wall of Sharm el-Sheikh, which the Egyptian authorities finished building to protect Israeli tourists, and prevented the entry of Sinai residents except through 4 fortified security gates after careful inspection.

Through his Twitter account, Kan 11’s reporter returned to say that he had learned from Israeli officials that the deterioration of the economic situation in Egypt was part of their discussions with the U.S. officials, and there was concern that the crisis there would worsen further.

The expert on Israeli affairs, Saeed Bisharat, commented on this move on Twitter, saying that it was one of the results of the Aqaba Summit.

Al-Estiklal asked an Egyptian political expert about the implications of this Israeli move. He thought it was likely to be a kind of “other side result of the Aqaba Summit.”

The regime of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is being rewarded for its “services” in curbing and putting pressure on the resistance, especially in Gaza, and training the Palestinian Authority forces that will confront the resistance inside the West Bank in Egypt in exchange for economic support, but from whom, this is still unknown.

The expert suggested that the Israeli economic support, part of which actually reaches Egypt in the form of revenues from its export of Israeli gas through its refineries and ports to Europe, according to an unannounced side deal that took place at the Aqaba summit.

On February 22, 2023, the Hebrew Channel 14 published details of a plan drawn up by U.S. General Michael R. Fenzel, coordinator of security affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, aimed at liquidating the Palestinian resistance in Jenin and Nablus through systematic killings and assassinations.

Palestinian sources said that it will be activated after the Aqaba meeting in cooperation with Egypt and Jordan.

The Israeli journalist Barak Ravid referred to this plan on the Axios website in early February 2023, stressing that Egypt’s role is to train Palestinian forces to suppress new resistance fighters in the West Bank, according to Mike Wenzel’s plan.

One of the five items of this plan, according to Axios, is: Egypt and Jordan train Palestinian special forces that include 5,000 security personnel, currently working in the National Security Agency, under American supervision.

The director of the Egyptian General Intelligence, Abbas Kamel, and intelligence officials of Jordan, America, and the Palestinian Authority participated in the security meeting in Aqaba for this purpose.

There was a statement issued by the White House following the Aqaba security meeting on February 26, 2023, in which President Joe Biden thanked the head of the Egyptian regime, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, for his role in creating the conditions leading to the success of the meeting. For this role, it was agreed to hold the second security meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh.


The Secret of Israeli Anxiety

Political analyst Antoine Shalhat said that there are strong indications of what can be considered an Israeli concern over the economic crisis in Egypt in the recent period that will lead to political instability and harm the peace treaty with “Israel.”

In an analysis he published on Arabs 48 on February 22, 2023, he explained that, in addition to this concern, implicit indications have emerged indicating that there is Israeli dissatisfaction with Sisi’s position during the Jerusalem Resilience and Development conference.

This conference was held at the League of Arab States in Cairo, February 12, 2023. In his speech, Sisi repeated the officially declared position on Jerusalem and rejected any Israeli changes; he also stressed the importance of the Hashemite custodianship over the al-Aqsa Mosque, which disturbed “Tel Aviv.”

The annoyance was expressed by Yoel Guzansky, a former Israeli ambassador to Cairo and senior researcher at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University.

The analyst, Antoine Shalhat, pointed out that the Israeli concern over the economic crisis in Egypt was clear and mixed with deep dissatisfaction with Sisi’s position in general on the Palestinian issue.

Shalhat attributed this restlessness to three approaches related to the Palestinian cause and the conflict in the Middle East in general that Sisi spoke about and made the Israelis think that Egypt had abandoned them.

The first was the assertion of Sisi, in the context of his speech at the conference, that what “Israel” is doing at the present time and in the past impedes the two-state solution and puts the Palestinian and Israeli sides and the entire Middle East in front of difficult and dangerous choices.

This approach pulls the rug out from under the feet of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been trying to impose, for several years, regional normalization as the way to a solution, or rather to dictate a solution to the Palestinian issue that is consistent with the Israeli vision.

The second approach is represented by Sisi’s emphasis on the continued efforts made by the regime to support the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip and his call to end the suffering of the Palestinians there.

The third was Sisi’s resumption of talking about the Arab peace initiative and the need to implement it, despite Israeli rejection since its launch in 2002, using the Arab countries’ denial of the Abraham Accords.


Israeli Interest

On March 2, 2023, the Israeli Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security published a study on the repercussions of the Egyptian financial crisis in the region, warning that “the collapse of the Sisi regime is a real threat to “Israel,” so the Israeli Occupation must save Egypt.

The study, written by Colonel (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman, Vice President of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, pointed to the importance of Egypt’s role in protecting Israeli interests, the latest of which was its role in the Aqaba security meeting.

He stressed the importance of Israeli efforts to preserve the stability of the regime in Egypt because it is facing a sharp economic crisis.

He clearly emphasized that

the stability of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s regime is an Israeli interest of the first order because the alternative of the collapse of the regime of a country with a population of 105 million on “Israeli borders” and the Islamists’ takeover of all or part of Sinai and Egypt itself poses a serious threat to “Israel.”

He also stressed that Sisi’s regime, despite its misbehavior from time to time, is taking a fundamentally positive line towards the normalization moves in the Arab countries as it participated in the Negev Forum, along with the United States, “Israel,” the Emirates, Bahrain, and Morocco, at the request of “Tel Aviv.”

The regime also works through intelligence channels against the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) in Gaza and takes action on the issue of prisoners and missing persons, according to the study.

Eran Lerman summed it up by saying that relations with Sisi are closer than ever, even if Egypt’s positions at the United Nations are against “Israel.”

Therefore, he called decision makers in “Israel” to use the influence of “Tel Aviv” to encourage the Gulf states to help stabilize the Egyptian economy by investing in industry and infrastructure.

Since the beginning of the economic crisis in Egypt, “Tel Aviv” has sought to expand trade and economic relations with Cairo.

On May 29, 2022, the Israeli government approved a plan to expand economic relations with Egypt as part of an Egyptian approach to benefit from normalization with “Israel” in providing resources for the deteriorating Egyptian economy suffering from the burden of debt.

The Israeli Ministry of Economy and Industry stated, in a statement, that the plan aims to expand economic cooperation and open Egyptian infrastructure projects to Israeli companies.

Analyzes differed about the real goals behind this economic normalization and its usefulness in saving the Egyptian economy from the great crisis it is currently suffering from, while experts assert that these developments are more political than economic in origin to support the Sisi regime.

This plan coincided with the announcement by the Foreign Trade Department of the Israeli Ministry of Economy on May 29, 2022, that trade transactions between “Israel” and Egypt in 2021 amounted to about $330 million, an increase of about 60% compared to 2020 (not including tourism and natural gas exports).