Israel shocked by Obama's "betrayal" of Mubarak
* Loyal ally seen dumped in name of political correctness
* Betrayal suggests Washington not a reliable ally
By Douglas Hamilton
JERUSALEM, Jan 31 (Reuters) - If Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak is toppled, Israel will lose one of its very few friends in a hostile neighbourhood and U.S. President Barack Obama will bear a large share of the blame, Israeli pundits said on Monday.
Political commentators expressed shock at how the United States as well as its major European allies appeared to be ready to dump a staunch strategic ally of three decades, simply to conform to the current ideology of political correctness. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has told ministers of the Jewish state to make no comment on the political cliffhanger in Cairo, to avoid inflaming an already explosive situation. But Israel's President Shimon Peres is not a minister.
"We always have had and still have great respect for President Mubarak," he said on Monday. He then switched to the past tense. "I don't say everything that he did was right, but he did one thing which all of us are thankful to him for: he kept the peace in the Middle East."
Newspaper columnists were far more blunt.
One comment by Aviad Pohoryles in the daily Maariv was entitled "A Bullet in the Back from Uncle Sam". It accused Obama and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of pursuing a naive, smug, and insular diplomacy heedless of the risks. Continued...