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Opinion | The disputed dam: Bennett has no solution to al-Sisi's problem Israel today


When Bennett met al-Sisi, Egypt was in an unprecedented crisis with Ethiopia to the point of fear of war. • Opinion

The meeting between Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi made headlines in Israel last week, not necessarily because of software but mainly because of its very existence - the first public meeting in more than a decade on Egyptian soil.

However, in Israel there were those who wanted to see the meeting as an expression of the warming of relations between the two countries, and even of an Egyptian desire to advance and tighten them.

They also expressed hope that Cairo would mobilize to assist Israel on the fronts of the various struggles, the joint struggle for Israel and Egypt alike, in the face of Hamas rule in Gaza and Iran's regional expansionist ambitions.

But it turns out that the heart of Egypt is somewhere else, and with all due respect to Hamas or Iran - the Egyptians are preoccupied with a matter that is their top priority.

Indeed, the Cairo reports of the Bennett and al-Sisi meeting hardly mentioned Hamas or Tehran.

Instead, it was reported that President al-Sisi raised in talks the question of the revival dam (the Nahda Dam) being established by Ethiopia, which could impede the flow of Nile water on their way to Egypt.

Ethiopia's determination to advance the construction of the dam has caused an unprecedented crisis in Cairo - Addis Ababa relations, to the point of fear of a military confrontation.

Yes - once again the construction of a dam on the Nile leads to war.

Nearly 65 years ago, it was the Aswan Dam that the Egyptians sought to build in the south of Egypt.

After Western countries refused their request to fund the construction of the dam, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal, which was then owned by the British and French.

In response, Britain and France launched an attack on Egypt, joined by Israel, which launched a "holy grail."

This time the creators changed.

It is Ethiopia that has been building a huge dam for about a decade, which seeks to store the waters of the Nile before they continue its territory to Sudan coming from Egypt.

All efforts to mediate and reconcile between the two countries and even the intervention of the Security Council - have failed, and now Ethiopia is approaching by huge steps to complete and operate the dam.

But Egypt was left alone in the confrontation with Ethiopia.

African countries are not interested in intervening in the conflict between two such major countries on the continent, Arab countries are dragging their feet, while the major powers - such as Russia or China - are sending sympathy and sympathy to Cairo, but are investing up to neck in wealthy and profitable projects in Ethiopia.

In Cairo, Israel has been accused in the past of being behind plans to build a dam to harm Egypt.

But now new winds are blowing in Egypt, and as stated in al-Sisi's name after his meeting with Naftali Bennett: "An understanding has been reached between the leaders, and it has been agreed to work together to solve the problem that Egypt considers a matter of life and death."

Egypt expects Israel to mobilize to help it solve the dam problem. But this is about as realistic an expectation as the expectation in Israel that Egypt will lead the Arab world to fight Iran and restrain Hamas rule. It is to be hoped that Bennett and non-Sisi are clear on what the two countries can, and especially what they cannot, do to help each other.

Source: israelhayom

All news articles on 2021-09-18

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