The Egyptian military is reported to be creating a 500-meter buffer zone on its own side of the border with Gaza, and is already destroying tunnels used by Hamas to smuggle goods and weapons. (Several Palestinian homes have apparently been destroyed in the effort, because they were hiding smuggling tunnels–an action that would trigger a global outcry if Israel had done it). Earlier, Egypt was said to be planning to “crush” Hamas.
These welcome actions are no thanks to the Obama administration, which fumbled away its influence in Egypt by supporting the Muslim Brotherhood government that replaced the regime of Hosni Mubarak only to begin undermining the new constitution.
Meanwhile, Israelis have lost what little faith they have in the Obama administration. A recent poll showed that 70% of Jewish Israelis do not trust the administration’s security guarantees.
That mistrust has been worsened by Obama’s embrace of an interim nuclear deal with Iran that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called an “historic mistake,” as well as by pressure on Israel to make risky concessions to the Palestinians.
Other countries in the region, too, have lost faith in Obama–notably Saudi Arabia, which shares Israel’s worries about Iran. But the loss of support in Egypt and Israel is telling.
The Camp David Accord of 1978, which ended war between the two countries, was the centerpiece of American diplomatic power in the region. To the extent that peace still reigns on the Egypt-Israel border, it will be in spite of, not because of, President Barack Obama.