Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Monday stated that Israel "respects the democratic process in Egypt" and expressed his expectations that Cairo would honor the 1979 Camp David peace treaty with Israel.
Calling the treaty a "bedrock of stability in the Middle East," during a meeting of his Independence faction, Barak said Israel would monitor developments in Egypt, in particular as they pertain to security, stability, peace and regional quiet. The Egyptian leadership, he added, has both opportunities and challenges ahead of it.
The comments came after Egyptian president-elect Mohammed Morsy told Iran's semi-official Fars news agency that he will review the peace treaty with Israel. The interview marks something of a departure from comments he made in his election victory speech Sunday night, during which the Muslim Brotherhood candidate vowed to "preserve international accords and obligations," in what appeared to be a reference to the treaty.
"We will review the issue of Camp David," Morsy said, adding that he would not take executive action but would rather pass recommendations through the government and cabinet. "I will not make any decision alone," he said.
Barak also addressed the recent escalation in southern Israel in his comments, vowing that "the IDF will continue to take action against terrorists." He added: "We will not accept rocket fire on the South."
"We have an interest in returning quiet," he said. He praised the Iron Dome rocket defense system for providing Israeli forces added flexibility and freedom to act, and helping build Israeli deterrence.
Barak decided Sunday to award the 2012 Israel Defense Prize to the developers of the Iron Dome counter rocket defense system. Barak’s decision was the final approval of a recommendation submitted by a prize committee.
Joanna Paraszczuk and Yaakov Katz contributed to this report.