Israeli official sees "shocking" dictatorship in Egypt

JERUSALEM Fri Nov 2, 2012 4:06pm EDT

Egypt's President Mohamed Mursi speaks before watching a display of military maneuvers in the eastern Sinai, October 18, 2012. REUTERS/Egyptian Presidency/Handout

Egypt's President Mohamed Mursi speaks before watching a display of military maneuvers in the eastern Sinai, October 18, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Egyptian Presidency/Handout

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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 Defense 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 Tahrir 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 defense 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 defense 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 marginalized 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)

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Comments (3)
kiwibird wrote:
Personally I think it was all a front for extreme Islam to get a hold on Egypt, which it has. Ironic that the ousted leader did not allow the Muslim Brotherhood a hold in Egypt. A total and utter disaster will unfold in time.

Nov 02, 2012 7:19pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
MichaelMann wrote:
With no constitution to regulate the activities of the leaders of a country with ever-expanding borders, an illegal siege around the Gaza strip, and a growing number of illegal settlements, Gilad cannot possibly mean that Egypt has a “shocking dictatorial force.” Not if he’s comparing it to his own government. This piece must be satire criticizing the mother of all dictatorships: Israel’s government.

Nov 02, 2012 8:13pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
boreal wrote:
The following poem is found in the school book “Maxwell’s Elementary Grammar”, copyright 1904.

“Oho!” said the pot to the kettle;
“You are dirty and ugly and black!
Sure no one would think you were metal,
Except when you’re given a crack.” “Not so! not so!” kettle said to the pot;
“‘Tis your own dirty image you see;
For I am so clean – without blemish or blot –
That your blackness is mirrored in me.”

Nov 03, 2012 1:39am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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