Israeli official sees "shocking" dictatorship in Egypt

JERUSALEM Sat Nov 3, 2012 3:10am IST

Related Topics

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - A senior Israeli official described Egypt's new government on Friday as a "shocking dictatorial force" and predicted there would be no high-level contacts between the two countries, but the Israeli government distanced itself from his comments.

The remarks by Amos Gilad, a top aide to Defence Minister Ehud Barak, were some of the harshest yet about the rise to prominence of Egypt's new Islamist president Mohamed Mursi, who was elected in June.

Speaking at a security conference, Gilad said the liberal forces behind the uprising which ousted former president Hosni Mubarak in 2011 had evaporated.

"From this democracy what has sprung is a shocking dictatorial force," he said in comments broadcast on Israel Radio. "Where are all the young people who were demonstrating in Tahir Square? They have vanished."

Barak's office later put out a statement saying that the comments picked up by the media did not reflect the position of the defence establishment nor Gilad himself.

"At the focus of what was said, (Gilad) emphasized the strategic importance of the peace agreement with Egypt and the importance of working relations with Egypt," the statement said. "The defence establishment and (Gilad) do not intend to interfere in Egypt's internal issues."

Mursi has faced some criticism at home from non-Islamists concerned about other voices being marginalised in Egypt.

On the whole, however, Egyptians acknowledge he is a democratically elected leader and any disagreements should be resolved in the political arena or at the ballot box.

Despite a peace treaty signed by the two countries in 1979, relations between Israel and Egypt have never been warm and Israelis watched with consternation as the once-banned Muslim Brotherhood rose to prominence.

Mursi resigned from the Brotherhood - which describes Israel as a racist and expansionist state - on taking power and has avoided inflammatory language.

He has said Egypt would continue to abide by international treaties, including the 33-year-old peace deal.

Gilad, however, said at the conference that he saw little prospect of talks.

"The President of Egypt, Mursi, cannot utter the words 'the State of Israel'," he said. Mursi has tended to avoid direct references to Israel in his speeches or public comments.

"There is no dialogue between our high-ranking political echelon and this president, and I don't think that there will be," Gilad said. (Reporting by Maayan Lubell; Editing by Stephen Powell)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Hong Kong Protests

REUTERS SHOWCASE

India-U.S. Ties

India-U.S. Ties

Obama, Modi discuss trade, climate, Islamic State at White House  Full Article 

Fighting Islamic State

Fighting Islamic State

Kurds seize Iraq/Syria border post; Sunni tribe joins fight against Islamic State  Full Article 

Ebola Outbreak

Ebola Outbreak

UN Ebola mission head wants significant progress in 60 days  Full Article 

Anti-Islamist Pact

Anti-Islamist Pact

Hardline Buddhists in Myanmar, Sri Lanka strike anti-Islamist pact   Full Article 

Palestinian Occupation

Palestinian Occupation

Jewish settlers occupy Palestinian homes in Old City's shadow  Full Article 

White House Breach

White House Breach

U.S. lawmakers scold Secret Service over White House breach  Full Article 

Rohingya Plan

Rohingya Plan

Myanmar confirms controversial Rohingya plan at United Nations  Full Article 

U.S.-Afghan Pact

U.S.-Afghan Pact

U.S. signs pact to keep troops in Afghanistan past 2014  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage