Jerusalem: Israeli officials called on Sunday
for relations with Egypt to return to normal despite recent
attack by a mob on the Israeli embassy in Cairo.
"We shall do everything in order that relations between
the two countries will return to normal," Environment Minister
Gilad Erdan, considered close to Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu, told public radio.
"In this case the Egyptian authorities acted as they
should," he said, referring to the rescue by Egyptian
commandos of six Israeli security guards besieged in the
embassy building for several hours on Friday night by angry
The attack on the mission, in which crowds smashed
through an external security wall, tossed embassy papers from
balconies and tore down the Israeli flag, was the worst since
Israel set up its mission in Egypt, the first Arab country to
sign a peace treaty with the Jewish state, in 1979.
It was the latest episode in worsening relations between
Egypt and Israel since the killing of five Egyptian policemen
last month on their common border as Israel hunted militants
after a deadly attack.
Ambassador Yitzhak Levanon was among 80 embassy staff and
their families flown home early Saturday morning. The six
guards followed later.
The deputy head of the Israeli mission remained in Egypt
to maintain diplomatic contacts with the authorities.
An Israeli government spokesman said on Saturday that
Levanon would return to his post "as as soon as the security
of the embassy is provided by Egypt."
"It is in the interests of both the Israeli and Egyptian
sides to restore relations between the two countries to
normal, even if that is not simple," home front defence
minister Matan Vilnai told Israeli army radio today.
"The Egyptian commandos resolved the problem, perhaps in
a somewhat belated fashion, but what they did prevented a
bloodbath," he said.
Netanyahu himself yesterday restated his desire to
maintain the peace treaty with Egypt, one of only two Arab
countries with Jordan to have signed a peace treaty with
"We are committed to preserving peace with Egypt, which
is in the interest of Egypt and Israel," he said in a
Since president Hosni Mubarak`s ouster in February after
a popular revolt, Egyptian activists have called for a
revision of the peace treaty with Israel.