Israel wary of Egyptian crisis after Morsi`s ouster
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Last Updated: Thursday, July 04, 2013, 22:25
  
Jerusalem: A wary Israel maintained a studied silence on Thursday over the turmoil in Egypt following the ouster of the country's first democratically-elected president Mohammed Morsi, describing the events as an internal matter of its Arab neighbour with which it has a peace treaty.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has instructed his cabinet ministers not to grant any interviews or express their own opinions in any public forum, so long as the regime in Cairo remains unstable.

"We are not relating at the moment to what is happening there, it is an Egyptian matter. We must worry about our own interests, and I am sure we are doing just that," Transport Minister Yisrael Katz told the Army Radio following news that Adli Mansour would be appointed interim President of Egypt.

However, former Defence Minister and lawmaker Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, an Israeli leader considered close to deposed Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak, harshly criticised Morsi and praised the army for ousting him.

"Morsi spent the last year just fitting his own people into the echelons of the regime," Ben-Eliezer said.

"The shake-up in Egypt will continue no matter who is elected, until Egypt returns to its secular base. It's not just the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt that's the problem, but the entire movement that hoped to take over the regime after 85 years," he added.

"Interim President Adli Mansour is a man of the old regime, and I assume he will work quickly to abolish the constitution and bring about new elections," Ben-Eliezer said.

Israel is primarily concerned about the need for cooperation between the two militaries to prevent terror groups operating in the Sinai Peninsula from carrying out attacks against the Jewish state and to stop migrant workers and refugees from crossing into Israel.

Channels of coordination between the Egyptian military and its intelligence and Israel's security forces continued to operate this week, despite the crisis, sources here said.

The two sides continued to cooperate with regard to stabilising the situation in Sinai and maintaining calm between Israel and Hamas along its border with the Gaza Strip.

Israel recently agreed to let Egypt deploy more troops in Sinai to prevent clashes with bands of Islamic extremists operating among the region's Bedouins.

Egypt continues on a daily basis to mediate between Israel and Hamas to resolve incidents along the border fence and quash any possible escalation, as happened last week when Islamic Jihad fired rockets from the Gaza Strip into the Negev desert in Israel.

Many analysts had questioned the fate of the peace treaty between the two countries in the face of ascendance of the Muslim Brotherhood regime under Morsi.

The landmark Egypt-Israel peace treaty was signed in 1979 by Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin following years of hostilities.

PTI


First Published: Thursday, July 04, 2013, 22:25


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