Egypt’s new Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi vowed to “respect all international agreements,” presumably meaning the pact with Israel, as he takes power in a regime conceived in the violence of last year's Arab Spring rebellion and bred in the aftermath of political chaos.
With the United States hoping for the best and Israel expecting the worst, Morsi did not mention the name of the Jewish state in his victory speech Sunday night, in which he promised to preserve international accords. He said he carries "a message of peace" to the world.
The stated doctrine of the Muslim Brotherhood to establishing a Middle East Muslim empire, along with Morsi’s statements the past year calling for changes in the 1979 peace treaty with Israel, are not easily forgotten by Jerusalem officials.
Few international leaders expect Morsi to try to cancel the treaty but he is almost certain to try to institute changes, such as moving more military power into the Sinai Peninsula, where Bedouin tribal leaders have teamed up with Hamas and other terrorists to carve out fiefdoms.
However, one factor working in Israel’s favor is the need for Morsi to deal with Egypt’s economic problems, which have been aggravated since the beginning of last year’s Arab Spring rebellion in Tahrir Square. The protests led to the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who now is in a coma after having been sentenced to life in prison for involvement in killing more than 800 opposition demonstrators.
Another urgent problem that will overshadow the peace treaty with Israel is the temporary military regime’s last-minute power grab, taking away most of the president’s powers.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which took power after Mubarak’s ouster 15 months ago, said it will be the sole power to appoint government leaders, including ministers.
The military council also recently dissolved the lower house of parliament, where the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafist Islamic parties won a majority last year.