After Egypt, Palestinian Authority cabinet reshuffle

By Jennifer Lipman, February 15, 2011

The Palestinian Prime Minister has six weeks to name a new cabinet after he dissolved the existing one in what experts said was a response to anti-government uprisings in the region.

Salam Fayyad, immediately reappointed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who asked him to form a new cabinet, is expected to attempt to shore up support for Fatah in the new leadership in advance of elections planned for September.

Hamas, the terrorist organisation in control of the Gaza Strip, has already stated it will not participate in the vote.


Egypt's presidential hopeful: treaty with Israel 'over'

By Jennifer Lipman, February 14, 2011

A senior Egyptian politician who is intending to run for president has called for Egypt to “renegotiate” its peace treaty with Israel.

Despite reassurances from the military, which took over from President Hosni Mubarak after he relinquished power on Friday, that the Camp David Accords would stand, Dr Ayman Nur said the treaty was “over”.

Dr Nur, the leader of the secular Tomorrow Party, who was jailed under Mr Mubarak’s rule, told Egyptian radio: "The role of the Camp David accords…has ended. Egypt must at least renegotiate the terms of the accord."


So, regime change is now good

By Melanie Phillips, February 14, 2011

The reaction in Britain and America to the turmoil in Egypt has produced a number of astounding revelations.

The first is that everyone in the bien-pensant world is now apparently a neo-con. You really do have to rub your eyes very hard at this.


Netanyahu: After Egypt, we're ready for anything

By Jennifer Lipman, February 14, 2011

Israel is prepared for “any possibility” in the Arab world following the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this morning.

Describing the events of the last month in the Middle East as an “earthquake”, Mr Netanyahu stressed the importance of maintaining the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, now that President Hosni Mubarak’s regime has been toppled.


Israeli politician: Mubarak wants 'honourable' escape

By Jennifer Lipman, February 11, 2011

A former senior Israeli politician who served as an envoy to Egypt has said President Hosni Mubarak was just looking “for an honourable way out”.

Commenting after Mr Mubarak confounded international expectation by transferring some powers to his deputy but refusing to relinquish his post, Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said he had spoken to the president that evening.

Mr Ben-Eliezer, a Labour politician who served as defence minister under Ariel Sharon, said: “"He knew that this was it, that this was the end of the road."


Middle East turmoil prompts Hague to get blunt with Bibi

February 10, 2011

William Hague's dramatic intervention in the Middle East peace process this week can not easily be dismissed as spin or journalistic hype.

It is no accident that he spoke so candidly to The Times during his mission to five countries affected by the "New Arab Revolt", nor that he used such strong language.

His determination to talk tough to Israel and the Obama administration about the urgency of restarting the peace process in the light of events in Egypt marks a significant development.


Hague assumption on Egypt so wrong

By Robin Shepherd, February 10, 2011

It has been remarked by more than one observer of events in Egypt and the wider Middle East that whatever else the crowds have been chanting as they call for political reforms, the "Death to Israel" mantra has been notable for its absence.


The good news: Iran may be next

By Anshel Pfeffer, February 10, 2011

Who's next? Which domino will be the next to fall? Which other Arab capital is about to see thousands of young demonstrators battling it out with police and calling for the speedy departure of their autocratic ruler, as we have over the past few weeks in Tunisia and Egypt?

Given that not one expert or analyst foresaw the events in Cairo and Tunis, one wonders how they can tell if and where it will happen again.


Mubarak: Syria blocked Hamas Shalit deal

By Jennifer Lipman, February 10, 2011

A deal with Hamas to free captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was scuppered by Syria and Qatar, according to a cable released by WikiLeaks.

The document quoted a conversation in June 2009 between Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and US general David Petraeus alleging that Hamas was offered more than £31 million to block a prisoner swap.


Muslim Brotherhood could rethink Israel-Egypt treaty

By Jennifer Lipman, February 9, 2011

If the Muslim Brotherhood takes power in Egypt, its first move could be to review the peace process with Israel.

Banned under President Hosni Mubarak, the Islamist group is understood to have the support of just a quarter of Egyptian voters, but is well-organised and has been vocal since anti-government protests erupted more than two weeks ago.

Mr Mubarak has promised to hold free elections in Egypt. If these go ahead, the Muslim Brotherhood are likely to field candidates.