Egypt Vote Spawns Loud But Mixed Reaction Out of Israel

Gazans Hopeful That Mursi Will Open Border

by Jason Ditz, June 24, 2012

The result of the Egyptian presidential election was finally released this weekend, with Dr. Mohammed Mursi named as the president-elect, to be sworn in later this month. Though internally there remain serious questions about what powers, if any, the president will actually have, the results have already sparked a shrill, but extremely mixed reaction out of Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement insisting that he expects Dr. Mursi to abide by the Mubarak-era peace deal, adding that he “respects the outcome” of the vote.

For other officials, including former Israeli Ambassador to Egypt Zvi Mazel (who more recently became famous for condemning Swedish religious figures as “anti-semites“), the vote was an opportunity to introduce the latest existential threat to Israel. Mazel blasted Mursi, accusing him of plotting the destruction of Israel and claiming Mursi had openly pledged to “conquer Jerusalem.”

The claims stand in stark contrast to the actual, real quotes of Dr. Mursi, in which he insisted peace with Israel would continue “on the basis of mutual respect” and that he would never declare war on anyone except in the case the other side attacked Egypt first. This is moot at any rate since last weekend the military junta issued an edict granting itself exclusive power to declare war.

But while Israeli officials are talking out of both sides of their mouths on Egypt, people in the Gaza Strip seem universally thrilled with the outcome, expressing hope that Mursi’s election would eventually mean a reopening of the border crossing and by extension a dramatic improvement in the Gaza economy.

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