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Date published: 11/16/2012
The tame response could be out of pragmatism. Egypt does not want to be seen as fueling the Gaza crisis and it has a strong interest in securing the goodwill of the international community--particularly the U.S.--as it seeks massive injection of foreign investments and aid to kick-start its ailing economy. The U.S. is Egypt's chief Western backer, giving it $1.3 billion a year in military aid and $250 million in economic assistance. Washington's goodwill is also needed to secure a key $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund. An IMF team is currently in Cairo to negotiate the loan.
Morsi could come under greater pressure for a tougher response if the onslaught worsens. Over two days, Israel has blasted more than 200 targets in Gaza, killing 15 Palestinians, including the Hamas military chief. Palestinian militants barraged Israel with nearly 150 rockets on Thursday, killing three people. Three rockets struck the densely populated Tel Aviv area, raising the likelihood of an even tougher Israeli response.
But so far, his response has not gone beyond what Mubarak did in the past. Mubarak, who was overthrown in early 2011, twice ordered home his ambassador to Israel, once over the Jewish state's 1982 invasion of Lebanon and again in 2000 over the suppression of the Palestinian uprising. In both cases, Mubarak used fiery rhetoric to denounce Israel's actions but remained firmly committed to his country's U.S.-sponsored 1979 peace treaty with the Jewish state.