14 February 2011
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said an "earthquake" was currently under way in the Arab world but has expressed hope for the best possible outcome. In a reference to the toppling of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak by popular protests, Netanyahu said on Monday that Israel hoped to strengthen its existing peace agreements and sign new ones, but he added that the Jewish state remained "prepared for any possibility." The leaders of Israel and Egypt signed a peace agreement in Camp David in 1979 which was brokered by the US (picture right: Presidents Sadat of Egypt and Carter of the US with Israel's PM Begin). The accord has been a lynchpin of stability in the region for three decades. After forcing Mubarak to step down, Egypt's ruling military council said over the weekend that it would honor the accord.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak told an ABC News program that he was not concerned the relationship between Israel and Egypt would fray with the departure Mubarak, but he cautioned against rushing into elections. "I don't think the relationship between Israel and Egypt is under any risk or that there is any kind of operational risk awaiting us," Barak told the program ‘This Week’ on Sunday. But, he said the "real winners" of any short-term election in Egypt would be the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood. "Usually in revolutions, if they are violent, there is an eruption of idealist sentiment at the first moment," he said. "And sooner or later, the only group which is coherent, focused, ready to kill and be killed, if necessary, takes power. That should be avoided in Egypt. That could be a catastrophe for the whole region."
Meanwhile, Ayman Nur, a leader of Egypt's secular opposition declared that the peace treaty with Israel signed in Camp David “is over". Nur is the leader of the Tomorrow Party and planning to run in the Egyptian presidential elections. His remarks on Egyptian radio were carried by Israel's ‘Channel 2’ and quoted by the newspaper ‘Haaretz’. "Egypt must at least renegotiate the terms of the accord," said Nur, who spent years incarcerated in Egyptian prison and was released with the help of US intervention.
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