By Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger
Despite Western and Israeli media preoccupation with the Palestinian issue - during the July 10, 2016 meeting between Prime Minister Netanyahu and Egypt’s Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry - the Israel-Egypt agenda dramatically transcends the Palestinian issue, which is not the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict, not a crown-jewel of Arab policy-making and not a core cause of the 1,400-year-old turbulence, violent intolerance, instability, unpredictability, subversion and terrorism in the Middle East.
Notwithstanding a statement made by Egypt’s Foreign Minister during his recent visit to Jerusalem – that resolving the Palestinian issue “will have a dramatic impact on the Middle East” – the intensifying Arab Tsunami, which erupted in 2011, threatening to topple every sitting Arab regime from Northwestern Africa to the Persian Gulf, has exposed the myth of the supposed centrality of the Arab-Israeli conflict, in general, and the Palestinian issue, in particular. None of the recent – as well as past – domestic and regional upheavals in the Middle East has been directly, or indirectly, related to the Palestinian issue. Contrary to conventional “wisdom,” the Palestinian issue has always been a side – and not a main – dish on the tectonic Middle East menu, which has been dominated by intra-Muslim and intra-Arab explosive ingredients.
Irrespective of Shoukry’s comment, during his June 29, 2016 meeting with Mahmoud Abbas – that “the Palestinian cause will always remain a priority of Egypt’s foreign policy” – neither Egypt, nor any other Arab country, has ever considered the Palestinian issue a top priority.