PM Binyamin Netanyahu 18.07.11
PM Binyamin Netanyahu 18.07.11Screen Capture

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told reporters in a statement Saturday night in Jerusalem that Israel will stand by the peace treaty with Egypt, and thanked the United States for its assistance in persuading Cairo to take action in protecting people at the Israeli embassy following an attack.

"The attack on the Israeli embassy in Egypt was a very serious thing, but could have been even worse, had they made it past the last door, and hurt our people who were trapped in the embassy," the prime minister said.

"I'm glad we were able to prevent a disaster... Israel will continue to adhere to the peace agreement with Egypt. We are working with the Egyptian government," he said. "The diplomats will return to Egypt."

Netanyahu also thanked the U.S. for its assistance in pressuring Egypt to take action. "I want to thank U.S. President Barack Obama," the prime minister said. "He said he would do all he could to help, and he did. He used America's full weight" to resolve the situation.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman added "a huge thanks to those six security guards who kept their composure and behaved heroically. I was impressed by the functioning of our people," he told Channel 10.

Israel and Egypt have been at peace, albeit not a warm peace, since the signing of a treaty between the two nations in March 1979.

Egyptian officials responded with a statement on national television Saturday vowing "total commitment" to the protection of diplomatic missions on its soil.

An Egyptian government spokesman told CNN the Cabinet had scheduled an emergency meeting, and that a state of emergency had been declared. All police leave has been canceled.

Prime Minister Essam Shraf, who heads the transitional government together with the military council, has offered to resign as well, according to a report in the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram newspaper.