Daily Israel Report

Netanyahu: Israel Expects Cooperation with Mursi

Prime Minister reacts to Islamist victory in Egypt: "Israel accepts results of democratic process."
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 6/24/2012, 9:07 PM

Mohammed Mursi
Mohammed Mursi
Reuters

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu issued an official reaction to the victory of Islamist Mohammed Mursi in Egypt's presidential elections Sunday.

"Israel appreciates the democratic process in Egypt and respects its results," said Netanyahu.

"Israel expects the continuation of the cooperation with the Egyptian regime on the basis of the peace treaty between the two countries, which is an interest of both peoples and contributes to the stability of the region," he added.

With over 80 million inhabitants, Egypt is the most populous Arab country and has always been considered Israel's most formidable neighbor. When Egyptian president Anwar Sadat ended 30 years of formal enmity by recognizing Israel and signing a peace treaty with it, many Israelis saw this as the beginning of the end of the existential threat to Israel from its neighbors. In return for the treaty, Israel handed over the entire Sinai Peninsula, which it had captured from Egypt in the Six Day War.

Sadat was assassinated by Muslim extremists because of the peace treaty and was replaced by Hosni Mubarak, who ruled for 30 years. The friendliness of U.S. President Barack Obama toward the Muslim Brotherhood, a movement formerly considered illegitimate by the West, is now seen as one of the reasons for Mubarak's downfall and the Brotherhood's rise to power.

Israelis are now concerned that Egypt may cease to honor its treaty with Israel, and that terror from Sinai and Gaza will increase. An even more worrisome scenario would involve the remilitarization of the Sinai, which serves as a buffer zone between Israel and Egypt.