Israel treaty anniversary ignored in Egypt

Egypt plans to leave 30th anniversary of peace treaty with Israel almost entirely unmarked.
Israel is set to celebrate on Wednesday its first peace treaty with an Arab state but its partner Egypt plans to leave the 30th anniversary almost entirely unmarked.
"No commemoration is planned in Cairo" for Thursday's anniversary, foreign ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki said, in a sign of the cold peace that still reigns between the two neighbours amid widespread popular opposition to the treaty in Egypt.
Egypt's ambassador in Tel Aviv, Yasser Reda, will attend one of the celebrations in Israel.
Zaki said it would be an "appropriate opportunity to assess the past and to look to the future," allowing both sides to explore "how this peace can help stabilise a wider peace in the region."
There had been speculation that Egypt might stay away from the Israeli commemoration after last month's election brought right-winger Benjamin Netanyahu to the brink of power and he then named ultra-nationalist Avigdor Lieberman as his foreign minister-designate.
Last October, Lieberman told Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak he could "go to hell" if he didn't visit Israel. In nearly three decades in power, Mubarak has never once made an official visit to the Jewish state despite.
But after reassurances from aides of both Netanyahu and Lieberman, Egypt eventually confirmed its ambassador would attend.
"We could call it a schizophrenia that verges on the denial of reality," said Egyptian researcher Emad Gad.
"A cold peace has been implemented. In the upper echelons of society there is dialogue and business. Below, there's nothing, or worse."
Israeli tourists do visit Egypt but the vast majority head to the Red Sea resorts of the south Sinai. Those are to some degree insulated from the rest of the country.
Israel also vaunts its economic links with Egypt, including Qualified Industrial Zones that allow the two countries to export duty free and a disputed contract to supply Egyptian gas to Israel.
But although trade rose more than fourfold over the four years to 2008, it still totalled only 271 million dollars.
The director of the Al-Ahram Centre for Strategic Studies, Abdel Monem Said Aly, said public attitudes in Egypt had not always been so hostile to peace.
For the first few years after the landmark signing on March 26, 1979, which forever changed the Middle East balance of power, there was widespread acclaim for the treaty, Said Aly said.
"There was a lot of popular fervour. To everyone's surprise, three years of warm relations followed until the (1982) war in Lebanon," he said.
"To say that the peace is cold or warm is inaccurate; its temperature is closely linked to fluctuations in the region, primarily the Israel-Palestinian conflict."
Israel's deadly three-week onslaught on the Gaza Strip at the turn of the year triggered renewed hostility in Egypt and demands from the Muslim Brotherhood opposition for the government to open its border with Gaza in defiance of agreements with Israel.
Since the conflict, Egypt has proved its usefulness to Israel as an essential go-between in talks with the Palestinian factions, but domestic pressure prompted the government to publicly criticise Israel's conduct of the talks.
The Israeli foreign ministry acknowledged that "despite the solid foundations of Israeli-Egyptian relations, there are still many goals to be achieved
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