NBC’s Engel ‘Worried’ About ‘Ferociously Anti-Israel’ Arab Street, ‘This Thing Ends in Jerusalem’

 On Wednesday’s NBC Nightly News, chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel informed viewers that he is "worried" that a major war between some of the Arab countries and Israel could be in the not too distant future because of the "ferociously anti-Israel" sentiment of the "Arab street" that is likely to gain power in countries like Egypt. He ended up concluding: "But I think, over time, this thing ends in Jerusalem."

After host Brian Williams and Engel had discussed the likely prosecution of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, and the disappointment of Libyan rebels at the level of assistance to their cause supplied by NATO, Williams posed the question: "You’re back here in New York for a few days. The question I’ve seen most people ask you: Where does this all end?"

Engel sounded more pessimistic than he did during the protests in Egypt from January and February. Engel:

This whole movement in the Middle East, and I'm worried about it because while people in the region deserve more rights and they want more rights and they're embracing more of the will of the Arab street, well, the will of the Arab street is also ferociously anti-Israel, against Israel.

He added:

And there's many people who believe that if you empower the Arab street and the Arab street wants to see a war or wants to see more justice for the Palestinians, that, down the road three to five years, this could lead to a major war with Israel. It could also force a negotiated settlement. But I think, over time, this thing ends in Jerusalem.

By contrast, on the February 8 Nightly News, Engel seemed to downplay possible dangers posed by a regime change as Williams asked him about the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood:

 The group has about 20 to 40 percent support in the country. It’s not al-Qaeda, it’s not the Taliban. They do support Islamic law, but the people who are members of the Muslim Brotherhood wear business suits. It’s much more similar to, it’s much more akin to Hamas in the Gaza Strip. It’s anti-American, it’s anti-Israel, but it wouldn’t kick all the Christians out of this country, but it would definitely take a more anti-American line.

Below is a complete transcript of the segment from the Wednesday, April, 13, NBC Nightly News :

BRIAN WILLIAMS: Overseas now, Hosni Mubarak and his two sons are getting hauled into court in Egypt. Mubarak was in court yesterday, you’ll recall. He was taken away for treatment of heart problems, but it's clear now the new guard in Egypt may extract its revenge on the old guard. Our chief foreign correspondent, Richard Engel, who lived in Cairo for years and who has covered the uprising in Egypt from the start, is briefly on home leave. He’s with us here in our New York studios. Richard, when you and I were there at the height of the uprising, it seems like the whole family had a chance to leave. They chose not to. What happens to them?

RICHARD ENGEL: They made a big mistake. They should have left when they could. The two sons, right now, are in jail, and they’re under investigation, and there are many people in Egypt who don't want to ever see them leave jail - corruption allegations, allegations that they were involved in ordering a murderous crackdown. They could face the death penalty. Mubarak facing similar charges. He's still in the hospital. He had those heart palpitations when he found out that his sons and his wife are under investigation. He's trying to stay in the hospital as long as he can, but if he can't and his doctors say that he's well enough, he is going to go to jail as well.

WILLIAMS: And now to the last front where we saw you and the story I know you'll be headed back to cover in short order, Libya. Americans are watching this on television, wondering why the rebels don't have the air cover they need. The rebels have been asking much the same thing.

ENGEL: Every day, and the rebels are getting very frustrated. They had this feeling that the West was with them, that NATO was going to deliver them victory, and they have discovered that that’s not in the cards, that they didn't get the mandate that they were hoping for, and a lot of them felt they were given false expectations. Once the U.S. pulled back from its role, the NATO air support has simply not been there, and the rebels haven't had enough strength to win.

WILLIAMS: You’re back here in New York for a few days. The question I’ve seen most people ask you: Where does this all end?

ENGEL: This whole movement in the Middle East, and I'm worried about it because while people in the region deserve more rights and they want more rights and they're embracing more of the will of the Arab street, well, the will of the Arab street is also ferociously anti-Israel, against Israel, and there's many people who believe that if you empower the Arab street and the Arab street wants to see a war or wants to see more justice for the Palestinians, that, down the road three to five years, this could lead to a major war with Israel. It could also force a negotiated settlement. But I think, over time, this thing ends in Jerusalem.

WILLIAMS: All right, Richard Engel, again, home briefly on leave. We'll see you either here or over there next. Thanks for spending time with us here tonight in the studio.