In the Space of a Week in September, Israel's Relations with Two Countries That Not So Long Ago Were Key Strategic Allies Crumbled Alarmingly, Cementing a Harsh and Dangerous New Reality for the Jewish State as It Braced Itself for Yet Another Crisis over the Palestinians' Determination to Declare Statehood in a Changing Arab World

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On 3 September, the Turkish government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan expelled Israel's ambassador and suspended military cooperation with the Jewish state. That was retaliation for Israel's refusal to issue an official apology for killing nine Turks when its navy intercepted a flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip in the eastern Mediterranean in May 2010.

That clash climaxed several years of deteriorating relations between Erdogan's Islamist government and Israel over its occupation of Palestinian land, the economic blockade of Gaza and the invasion of that turbulent territory in December 2008.

On 9 September, a large mob of Egyptians, incensed by Israel's killing of five police officers in the Sinai Peninsula during a deadly raid by militants near the resort city of Eilat in August, stormed the Israeli embassy in Cairo and smashed it up with sledgehammers in a 13-hour rampage.

The ambassador and his staff were evacuated in an Israeli military transport after US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta intervened with the military council that has governed Egypt since President Hosni Mubarak was driven from office in February.

Mubarak had been a staunch supporter of Egypt's 1979 peace treaty with Israel. But the vast majority of Egypt's 82 million people oppose it, claiming it infringes Egypt's sovereignty, particularly in the Sinai.


Their demands that it be scrapped, or at least amended, have grown more voluble in recent weeks, amid a swelling dissatisfaction at the slow pace of democratic reforms promised by the caretaker military government seven months after Mubarak's downfall.

If Cairo seeks to rewrite the 1979 pact, the first treaty between Israel and an Arab state, Israel's entire strategic policy will collapse.

It's already starting to crack as the Arab world stumbles and shudders into a new era, with the prospect of new regimes that are likely to be hostile to Israel.

After the Cairo embassy incident, the Israelis heightened security at their embassy in Amman, underlining Israeli fears that Jordan could be the next victim of the Arab Spring. …