The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) has taken a decisive measure for the first time since it gained power over a year ago. The SCAF has scrapped the decades-old gas deal between the two countries, which was was originally signed under Israeli pressure. The military council can no longer stand against the will of the Egyptian people, who are being humiliated as their gas is sold to the enemy at the cheapest prices while the vast majority of them are denied a decent living.
Israel responded by stating that Egypt was unaware of the perils involved in ending the gas agreement. This move is seen as a step backward in terms of politics, security and economics. However, this is the first time in 30 years that Egypt has taken an action to reclaim its previous role as an economic pioneer. Thirty years ago, Egypt used to compete with South Korea in terms of economy and gross national product. Today, Egypt finds itself at the bottom of the economic ladder while South Korea ranks among the greatest industrialized countries.
Before, Egypt used to lead the third world as the head of the Arab League and the Non-Aligned Movement during the Cold War, but today it needs to be led. Perhaps with this courageous step, Egypt may right the wrongs of those who ruled it in recent decades.
Israel may turn a blind eye to the abolition of the agreement, but it is well aware that this will be a lost battle. Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, speaking on behalf of Israel, played down the importance of Egypt’s decision. However, he warned of dangerous events unfolding in Egypt, saying that Cairo has become a greater threat to Israel than Iran’s nuclear program.
Israel will not use gas as an excuse to provoke problems with the new Egypt. Sinai will be its new pretext and Israel has been focusing on the peninsula that separates the two countries for months now. Netanyahu warns that the region could turn into a nest for Al-Qaeda, terrorism and rockets to be fired into Eilat. Lieberman himself called the Israeli minister of defense to set up four teams on the southern border in “anticipation of the worst.”
Still, Israel’s malicious plan to re-occupy the Sinai under the pretext of protecting its security remains "the worst." Israel will push the region toward chaos before Egypt manages to get back on its feet and is able to regain full sovereignty over the peninsula. Given that it has succeeded overcoming the pressure to deliver gas to Israel at low prices, once it redeems its position in the region, Egypt must push for a rectification of the imbalances brought about by the Camp David accords.