Morsi’s letter to Israel a ‘fake’
JERUSALEM - The Associated Press
President Mohammed Morsi (C) waves to supporters at the Tahrir Square, the focal point of Egyptian uprising in Cairo. AP photoA letter to Israel from Egypt’s new president hoping for regional peace kicked up a stir July 31 when the Egyptian leader’s Islamist movement denied he sent it. Israel insisted the letter was genuine. The letter, ostensibly sent by Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, was a response to a message from Israeli President Shimon Peres, conveying Israel’s good wishes for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The spat underlined the touchy nature of Egyptian-Israeli relations, always frosty but now especially sensitive in the wake of Muslim Brotherhood victories in Egyptian elections. It also appeared to show some disarray in the fractured Egyptian government.
The return letter, released by the Israeli president’s office, was on the stationery of the Egyptian Embassy in Tel Aviv. In it, Morsi appeared to write in English, “I am looking forward to exerting our best efforts to get the Middle east Peace Process back to its right track in order to achieve security and stability for all peoples of the region, including that Israeli people.” The Israeli president’s name was spelled “Perez.”
Then a spokesman for Morsi, Yasser Ali, said in Cairo that Morsi had not written a letter to the Israeli president at all.
“This is totally untrue,” Ali said, calling the letter a “fabrication.” He blamed two Israeli newspapers for manufacturing the letter - though it was released by the president’s office in Jerusalem.
An official in Peres’s office, speaking anonymously because the issue concerned sensitive diplomatic relations between the two countries, said the president’s aides received the official communique July 31 from the Egyptian ambassador to Israel, both by registered mail and by fax from the embassy in Tel Aviv.