We were fortunate to have Noam Katz, the Minister for Public Diplomacy at the Embassy of Israel in the Center on Thursday morning for a pre-work briefing on “The Current Situation in the Middle East.” In it, Mr. Katz echoed President Obama in observing that since January, we have been witnesses to history unfolding in places like Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. However, he reminded us, that from a historical viewpoint these are early days still, and much more remains to seen in how the democratic uprisings in the Arab world unfold. He illustrated his point with this short anecdote:
I would like to quote an Israeli Prime Minister speaking on situation in Egypt, “The State of Israel wishes to see a free, independent and progressive Egypt. The stormy developments there may contain positive trends for recovery and progress, and we view them with favor.” This is not Benjamin Netenyahu. This is David Ben Gurion in 1962 speaking on the sitaution in Egypt after the revolution or the coup of Nasser, overthrowing King Farouk.
You can listen to the full program, along with the question and answer session, which focused quite a bit on the prospect of a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood and its possible endorsement in the United Nations.