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WAR: Israel, Egypt Warm Ties With Prison Swap

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posted on Dec, 5 2004 @ 08:02 PM
In yet another sign that the Middle East peace process may be back on track, or at least getting close, Egypt and Israel exchanged prisoners. This swap is a sign that the relationship between the two nations may be improving. Less than a year ago the Egyptian president had stated that the Israeli prime minister was incapable of peace. However, today he refereed to him as the regions best chance at reaching the goal.< br /> CAIRO, Egypt - In a series of dramatic steps capped Sunday by a high-profile prisoner swap, Israel and Egypt are moving rapidly to improve relations, seizing the opportunity for a Middle East peace deal presented by Yasser Arafat's death.
year ago, Egypt's president dismissed Israel's prime minister as incapable of making peace. Today, he calls Ariel Sharon the region's best chance for an end to hostilities. The change in attitude is also apparent in Syria and across the Gulf, as Arab nations signal they are ready to work with Sharon, a man they long have described as a butcher.

But it was Sunday's Israeli-Egyptian prisoner swap that provided the most striking example. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's decision to Azzam Azzam, an Israeli Arab convicted of spying for Israel, in exchange for six Egyptian students held by Israel reversed his government's long-standing policy — and eliminated a central point of friction between the two countries over the past eight years.

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This is a great move for both countries. Egypt lead the Arab world years ago when Sadat came to terms with Israel. Their relationship has deteriorated since, but an uneasy “cold peace” as of late. However, signs indicate that there may be a thaw of sorts. Egypt has returned its ambassador to Tel Aviv for the first time in 4 years. Jordan and Turkey have also come to terms long ago. If Syria and Israel can bury the hatchet, it would go along way to helping stabilize the region. However, that’s assuming that Sharon’s government stays intact. If it falls and the likes of a Netanyahu come to power it will be dark times indeed.

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