President of the Alliance of Egyptian Americans (AEA) Mahmoud al-Shazly has said that mutual US and Egyptian support for launching direct negotiations between Israel and Palestinian Authority is driven more by respective domestic concerns than a genuine desire to reach a Mideast peace settlement.
“US President Barack Obama and his Democratic Party are troubled at home by slow economic growth and high employment. His popularity ratings have declined recently with congressional mid-term elections approaching,” al-Shazly told Al-Masry Al-Youm. “Obama wanted to score success in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to show that his administration is capable of reaching a solution while previous administrations failed to do so.”
As for Mubarak, al-Shazly explained, his participation in launching the talks accompanied by his younger son, Gamal, was meant to give the impression that the US supports his vision of who will succeed him. “Egypt might be summoned to cover up the Palestinian negotiator in case difficult concessions are required in order to reach a final settlement.”
Last week, local media reported that Gamal participated in a dinner with Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the eve of the Washington meeting to launch renewed Mideast peace talks.
Although both father and son denied such plans, it’s widely believed that Mubarak is grooming his 46-year-old son to succeed him.