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Real deal? Morsi ducks Peres peace letter claim

Published time: August 01, 2012 10:50
Edited time: August 01, 2012 14:52
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi (R) and Israeli President Shimon Peres (AFP Photo)

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi (R) and Israeli President Shimon Peres (AFP Photo)

Israel insists that a letter received from Egypt's new President expressing desire for regional peace is genuine; despite a denial by Cairo the letter was ever sent.

­The note written in English and released by the Israeli President's office on the stationery of the Egyptian Embassy in Tel Aviv states, "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 the Israeli people." 

The letter in question was allegedly a reply to an earlier message from Israeli President Shimon Peres, communicating the Jewish state’s good wishes for Ramadan.

But Yasser Ali a spokesman for Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, has called the letter a “fabrication” and blamed Israeli newspapers for producing it. 

Nevertheless, Israel believes the letter is genuine.  An anonymous official in Peres’ office told the Associated Press that it was passed through the president's aides via an official communique on Tuesday from the Egyptian Ambassador to Israel.

The Israeli President’s Office then asked the Egyptian Ambassador for permission to publicize the document, to which Morsi's office had given a green light, the official added.

This is message was Peres's second letter to Morsi since he assumed office on 30 June 2012.

In June, the Israeli President together with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a first letter to Cairo, congratulating Morsi on his election victory and stressed the value of peace to both Israel and Egypt.

This summer’s Muslim Brotherhood victory in the Egyptian presidential elections has raised concern in Israel that its strategic 1979 peace agreement with Egypt could be in jeopardy. Israel's peace deal with Egypt, which ended decades of hostilities, is believed to be one of the cornerstones of Israeli security.

So far, Egypt has endorsed the deal by keeping the Sinai Peninsula essentially demilitarized.  

Yet, the newly-elected Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi stated his desire to befriend Israel’s arch enemy Iran – by reconsidering the peace accord with Israel, a move that raised eyebrows in Jerusalem.

The Muslim Brotherhood is historically hostile to Israeli and has expressed a desire to make adjustments to the Israel-Egypt peace agreement.

Meanwhile, Israeli points to an increased threat coming from militants centered on the Sinai Peninsula.

The Jewish State has laid the blame on Egypt, saying Hamas had asked Egyptian Bedouins to fire two rockets across the frontier to strike Eilat in mid-June at the request of the Muslim Brotherhood. Egypt has denied the accusations.

Also that month, unidentified gunmen crossed Egypt's Sinai border and murdered an Israeli worker.  Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak called the incident “a disturbing deterioration in Egyptian control of security in the Sinai” reports the Washington Post.

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