Israel’s other problem: Egypt
Protesters in Egypt climb over a wall meant to protect the Israeli embassy in Cairo on September 9.
September 23rd, 2011
07:30 PM ET

Israel’s other problem: Egypt

While the question of Palestinian statehood took center stage at the United Nations General Assembly on Friday, another issue in the region was being discussed among diplomats in the halls and meeting rooms - the rise in tension between Egypt and Israel.

"The administration here, and in most other places in the world, understands that that’s the real game," said Daniel Kurtzer, who has served as U.S. ambassador to both Israel and Egypt.

A couple of weeks ago, the Israeli embassy in Egypt was overrun by a mob, causing Israeli diplomats to flee. In August, a string of attacks in southern Israel near the Egyptian border left several people dead; Israeli officials believe the attackers had support from within Egypt's Sinai peninsula.

"For many years, those of us who have been studying or working in and on the Middle East have known that there’s a great deal of anger built up in the so-called Arab Street over the failure to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli/Arab-Israeli conflict,” said Kurtzer, now a professor of Middle Eastern policy studies at Princeton University.

Under Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak, that anger was kept in check. But Mubarak was ousted this year, and the interim leaders find themselves dealing with a segment of society that suddenly feels free to express their opinions publicly - sometimes with violence - with less fear of a crackdown.

"They certainly have their hands full," Kurtzer said. "This is one of several major problems that are competing for top attention ... all of these compete now with a foreign policy crisis engendered by mob violence."

And that has many people concerned about the future of an Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty that has been in place for three decades.

Click the audio player to hear the rest of the story from CNN Radio's Steve Kastenbaum:

You can also listen to the CNN Radio Reports podcast on itunes or subscribe to the podcast here.

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Filed under: Egypt • Israel
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. WOT

    Thank you CNN for this BLOG! It helps people vent their anger about what is happening in the world not just the USA! The people in north east Africa are all related, it is only sibling conflicts that needs to be addressed! Love covers all thing, not hate!

    September 24, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • JEP11

      @EGYGIRL, Well some of the American people don't want our tax dollars being given to Isreal or Egypt, we would rather our tax dollars be spent here at home creating jobs for our own people. So don't blame the American people, blame the people in charge who make those decisions.

      September 24, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kirk

      When does Israel not have a problem with one of it's neighbours? This isn't news anymore. This never ends. News would be if someone in the region decided to live peacefully with them. I just don't see it happening anytime soon unfortunately. Someday everyone will have to sit down, and take a really hard look at where all this hate comes from, and deal with that directly for a change.

      September 24, 2011 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mr, President

    Chaos. Did I do that? Watch what else I can do to distroy the world. I still have one more year to go. See what I screw up next.

    September 24, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • JEP11

      How is this the President's fault? The Egyptian citizenry ousted their Leader yet our President is the blame?

      September 24, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Don

      Make it FIVE more years. Win Mr President Win.

      September 25, 2011 at 5:39 am | Report abuse |
  3. jester & jackal

    Can't blame the president for world problems. Beside as I recall Egypt lost the wars against Israel. The trouble makers are just sore losers.

    September 24, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  4. outofthebox

    Its easy to call israel a bully when we live in the usa. Try living in a country where your "peaceful"neighbors have
    A.) Already been to war with you.

    B.)Aimlessly fire rockets into civilian neighborhoods.
    I would imagine that would be pretty stressful. And I know already some leftist is going to babble on about how I'm ignorant. Save you keyboard a few extra clicks. You're not changing my mind.

    September 24, 2011 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jazzzzzzzz

    @ outofthebox
    Rick Perry would be in agreement with you as he seems to think it's Americias duty to back Isael as a theological commandment

    September 24, 2011 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. A Concerned American

    Everybody has a J$w problem. Americans have no idea they are being played for fools by Israeli spies in our government posing as American patriots and public servants.

    September 24, 2011 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Bimbo the Birthday Clown

    When I was in Egypt in 1992, Egyptians hated Israel. Maybe they always will. Or at least until their society grows up.

    September 25, 2011 at 1:13 am | Report abuse |
  8. bigwilliestyles

    Why would the US object to practices that are implemented HERE on a daily basis? Fullerton, Texas, Abu Graib, Baltimore, hell, they relate to the oppressor here, not the oppressed. Check some of the signs at a Tea Party rally! They've been the oppressor here so long that they automatically bond with oppressors worldwide, and prop them up with money to boot. How are you going to object to 'Israeli Security Forces' killing people from another country, when you have 'American Security Forces' killing people from this country, some times from the same organizations (Baltimore PD).

    September 25, 2011 at 2:44 am | Report abuse |
  9. outofthebox

    How bout one?? Will one year work? Let's give him another year to mess stuff up...lose mr. President lose...

    September 25, 2011 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
  10. bill

    The rebellions throughout the middle east has been orchestrated by the taliban and al qaeda, it's not been a fighter for freedom, actually it's been quite the contrary. Oppression throughout the middle east is actually going to get worse not better and Israel will never agree to a two state solution under such conditions and they can't be blamed for looking out for what's in their best interest, all countries do. The best thing for the Palestinians is to work to make amends with their brethren and become part of a single State solution where everyone is granted the same rights and privileges anything less is doomed for failure.

    September 25, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Arnold Dark Haired Castle

    I really hate that Glenn Beck was right. Let's hope he wasn't right about Libya too.

    September 26, 2011 at 6:09 am | Report abuse |
  12. GEORGE

    The real problem in middle east , it's America sending our tax dollars , to back up Israel. We have people losing their homes, more than 40 millions on food stamps , but IPAC , push to drain our veins , to sponsor a belligerent country , and get real , if we need help , Israel is not going to help us , they just are using US , Israel is just a cheating wife using our credit cards to have fun with her lover , and we pay for the party....

    October 11, 2011 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
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