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Israeli PM Netanyahu (2nd R) and Defense Minister Ehud Barak (L) stand in front of a burned Egyptian military vehicle. REUTERS photo

Israeli PM Netanyahu (2nd R) and Defense Minister Ehud Barak (L) stand in front of a burned Egyptian military vehicle. REUTERS photo

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said he was encouraged by Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi’s recent statement that secured the Israel-Egypt peace treaty, and invited him to visit the country. The invitation came as relations between Iran and Egypt have started to warm.

“Those who speak of peace and stability must realize that it cannot be a hypothetical peace,” Lieberman said during an Israel Bar Association conference on Aug. 28. Lieberman was referring to a recent interview in which Morsi said he would pursue a “balanced” foreign policy, reassuring Israel that its peace treaty was safe. Morsi repeated his position that Egypt would continue to abide by international treaties, including its 1979 peace deal.

“We certainly hope to see Morsi hosting official Israeli representatives soon; we want to see him giving interviews to Israeli media; we want to see him in Jerusalem as President [Shimon] Peres’ guest,” Lieberman told the conference, according to Ynet news website.

‘Happy to hear Morsi speak of peace’

Without mentioning Israel by name, Morsi also indicated Egypt’s neighbor had nothing to fear from a new military campaign in the Sinai Peninsula, which he ordered after gunmen attacked an Egyptian border post, killed 16 guards and tried to burst across the frontier into Israel. “I was happy to hear Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi speak of Egypt’s commitment to peace with Israel, to the Camp David peace accords and to the battle against terror,” Lieberman said, Egypt Independent reported.

Relations with Egypt have remained cool despite the treaty. Calling these relations “very important tidings,” Lieberman said, “But whoever talks about peace and stability must understand that it cannot just be vague and hypothetical.”

Cairo’s relations with Tehran had also been severed for three decades. Tehran broke diplomatic ties with Cairo in 1980, after the Islamic revolution in Iran, to protest against Egypt and Israel agreeing to their 1979 peace treaty. But in the latest sign of warming relations between the two countries, Morsi will visit Tehran to attend the Non-Aligned Movement summit. Morsi’s presence in Iran will be notable because it will be the first by an Egyptian leader since 1979. Also, Iranian Foreign Minister Salehi recently said Tehran was keen on establishing relations of “friendship and brotherhood” with Cairo.

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood reacted immediately against Lieberman’s remarks by describing his invitation of Morsi to Israel as “diplomatic rebelliousness.” The group said, “There is no possibility for Morsi to visit the Zionist entity.”

Shafiq on travel watchlist

A senior official in the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, Gamal Heshmat, said that “accepting Israel’s invitation would be unimaginable.” He noted that even ousted President Hosni Mubarak only visited Israel once, to attend Yitzhak Rabin’s funeral, despite the fact he considered Israel a “strategic asset.” Meanwhile, the former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, who left Egypt amid a corruption probe after losing to Morsi in elections, has been placed on a watchlist and given a travel ban, judicial sources said.

Shafiq, a former air force chief appointed prime minister by president Hosni Mubarak before his overthrow early last year, is under investigation for an allegedly illegal sale of state land to Mubarak’s sons. He travelled to the United Arab Emirates after losing to Morsi in June’s election.

August/30/2012

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READER COMMENTS

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ilker avni

8/30/2012 11:26:56 PM

@Danny B Danny One question for you who owned sinai befire Israeli invasion?.You sound as though Israel was entitkled to the lands it stole with its wars on Arabs. in 1967.Israel was the theif,Israel steals Arabs lands then demands peace.Like a robber who steals,and when caught demands that he faces no punishment for his crime.If israel really wanted peace it would hand back the lands it stole with arms, and restore palenstinians back to they lands.Untill them Israel can never ask for peace.

A Shmolik

8/30/2012 11:10:49 PM

Rapaport - The Sinai agreement was a tri-party deal, bought&paid for you by USA! Temper your frenzy, did your side ask Egypt for clarification on the Tanks or are you just rattling your Sabres for sheer joy of it? Last time , it is said that Moishe Dayan claimed that it was so ctrtical, use of the Big Bang bomb was considered, is that your new Wild Joker now, also is that the latest instructions you got? P.S. Some people claim that the USA is almost broke, what will you do now?

Aryeh Rapaport

8/30/2012 9:12:05 PM

Shmulik, Israel couldnt control 100% of Sinai in 1967 but peace agreement was signed, has been respected, must be respected by parties. For Egypt to send in Tanks unapproved by Israel is breaking agreement- should be stopped immediately. Israel is more powerful now then in 1967- Egyptian should not test Israel resolve. Israel can, should and will control Sinai if Egypt breaks the agreement in a way that risks Israel / helps Hamas. This time Israel wont negotiate so easily, Can control ALL Sinai

Aryeh Rapaport

8/30/2012 9:00:31 PM

A shmolik, your off on so many levels. 1) You say "as starters evacuate settlers" Israel should not do that for starters but only under a comprehensive peace agreement. We saw what happened to Gush katif when Israel gave it back - missiles, kidnapping, attempts to kill - NO! 2) "Realistic effort to make peace" Who are you kidding? Abu Mazen demands preconditions while Israel has no demands. 3) "Puppet state" so Israel is to blame for Palestinian divide? Its time Abu Mazen goes!!

A Shmolik

8/30/2012 7:12:21 PM

Danny B. Danny- It's considered appropriate to love and praize own Country, it is considered Jingoism when it is done so to the exlussion and denegration of other Countries, Lands & Peoples, it is a Danger tooverall Peace and Tranquility. Israel aquired Sinai in the Sic day War at great loss of materiel and life (9;750+) Israel could not afford to keep it Financially or Militarily. In Stepped USA, nagotiated peace between the two + annual $$$ help>Whitdrawal was't Altruism on part of Israel!

A Shmolik

8/30/2012 6:09:43 PM

@Murat, it sounds good, the name for the Jewish ReligeousDevoties (Fanatics) in Judish is D' Froome but Your version "Jewish Taliban" is more appropriate in view of present times Turmoils, to separate the Fanatics from general Populations of a given country.

Murat

8/30/2012 5:43:25 PM

It is not that complicated Israel. Draw your borders. Either incorporate West Bank to Israel and make them all Israeli citizens, or evacuate West Bank asap to the last goat and the Jewish Taliban. You can not have it both ways and then whine why no one loves you.

Danny B Danny

8/30/2012 2:49:11 PM

A Shmolik Benjamin Freedman, No matter whom are in Israeli government, fact is that for 33 years Israel kept the peace treaty with Egypt till the last word. For a piece of paper Israel returned to Egypt a territory 3 times bigger than entire Israel, with oil rigs. tourist resorts and a 1st class strategic zone. Suez canal reopened and Egypt had prosperity. Therefore don't understand the sarcasm of yours. breaching the peace just prove what value has an Arab word in case of Palestinian conflict.

Rimon Tree

8/30/2012 2:26:27 PM

Why didn't you bring my comment? I don't think I insulted somebody by telling the truth?

A Shmolik

8/30/2012 12:52:49 PM

Rich Bind- there you go Pal, starting calling using deragotory terms on yourself, when no one does, playing the hate card The times have changed slowly but durely in 44 years, Israeli policy vs. Palestinians intensifies for the worse. Here's one thing you csn do for starters, start evacuating Settlers from the land they got illegaly, tell your leaders to make ralistic efforts to seek peace with Palestinians instead of constantly trying to create a Pupet State, for starters.
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