|Tantawi (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)|
Madison Ruppert, Contributing Writer
The recent turmoil in Cairo surrounding the Israeli embassy to Egypt represents not only a turn of public Egyptian sentiment against the state of Israel and their foreign policy but also a larger shift in attitudes in the Middle East towards the increasingly isolated state of Israel.
The United States is not taking this lightly and according toHaaretz, a senior source in the United States relayed that the new American Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has given a “forceful message” to the Egyptians.
After reportedly failing to respond to incoming calls for over two hours, Panetta spoke to the head of the Egyptian Supreme Military Council Mohamed Hussein Tantawi and warned of “very severe consequences” and “no time to waste” in resolving the issues with the Israeli embassy.
According to another source cited byHaaretz, this time a senior Israeli source, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak both attempted, and failed, to speak to Tantawi.
The same Israeli source told Haaretz that the Egyptians were essentially giving the senior Israeli government officials the run-around by saying that “they were not able to track him down in order to connect the call.”
To circumvent the Egyptian reluctance to speak with Israeli officials, Defense Minister Barak simply called upon his American counterpart Panetta and instructed him to discuss the issues with Tantawi, which Panetta did.
One must wonder if Barak instructed Panetta to make the forceful, and arguably threatening, remarks to Tantawi or if Panetta decided to take such an aggressive stance on his own.