When I was a much younger boy than I am now, I recall all the hoopla and euphoria over the signing of the Israel-Egypt. It was the breakthrough that Israelis had been praying for since the armistice of 1949, a dream realized.
Who could forget the images of Anwar Sadat stepping off the plane in Tel Aviv or addressing the Knesset in Yerushalayim? Or how it seemed that the break in the wall of isolation around would be the first of many to come?
If anything, the treaty itself was the dream. Shortly after it was signed, Sadat was assassinated. His replacement, who is still the dictator of Egypt until this day, Hosni Mubarak, was not of similar mind to Sadat.
Under his guidance, Egypt has become as hostile as it can without actually openly violating the treaty through military actions. Although Israelis continue to flock to Egypt on tours, few Egyptians return the favour. Although multiple Israeli premiers have gone to Cairo to court Mubarak's favour, he has visited Israel only once - for Yitzchak Rabin's funeral, and he made sure that the stay was brief and as unofficial as possible.
But more than that, Egypt remains the leading producing of anti-Jewish materials - in print, television and movies - in the world. Anti-Israel songs routinely become number 1 and no lie is too vile to be told as fact on Egyption television. How many times have Israeli tourists been shot while visiting the Sinai while Egyptian troops either watched without helping?
Anyone capable of a dispassionate look at Anwar Sadat's peae efforts has long realized that following his defeat in the Yom Kippur war, he came to realize that Israel was not in danger of being imminently destroyed but that if he wanted to retake the Sinai, he could do so through peace and gain all of his 1973 objectives without firing a bullet. More intelligent than other Arab leaders, he bit his tongue and came to Yerushalayim. His reward to was receive everything he asked for and more.
Mubarak, on the other hand, continues to see Israel as his chief competitor for cultural and economic domination in the Middle East. As a result, he works to isolate and demonize Israel at every opportunity.
Is Egypt an important negotiating partner between Israel and Hamas? Says who? Have they gotten Gilad Shalit one step closer to returning to his family? Have they convinced Hamas to modify its venomous beliefs one iota?
Thus when Avigdor Leiberman recently called a spade a space he was simply stating what intellient people have been noting for over 20 years. Mubarak is no friend of Israel and Egypt is only interested in honouring its obligations under the peace treaty if it helps them work against Israel's interests without threat of punishment. Perhaps more straight talk might convince Mubarak the jig is up but as long as deluded leftist peaceniks continue to believe that Egypt is "friends" with Israel, that remains unlikely.