PMO denies reports PM denounced Egypt firings

PM’s office quashes Egyptian media reports on Netanyahu’s alleged reactions to recent Cairo events.

Netanyahu and Barak in Sinai 390 (photo credit: Avi Ohayon/GPO)
Netanyahu and Barak in Sinai 390
(photo credit: Avi Ohayon/GPO)
Israel’s official silence Monday on the sacking of the military leadership in Egypt the day before did not keep the Egyptian media from quoting Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as saying that the forced ouster of defense minister Mohamed Hussein Tantawi was worse than the fall of Hosni Mubarak.
The media, in both traditional outlets and on the ever-present Egyptian Twitter feeds, also quoted anonymous sources as saying that Netanyahu had already “despaired” of President Mohamed Morsy.
Concerned that if left unchallenged, these reports would take on a life of their own in Egypt, Ofir Gendelman – Netanyahu’s Arabic media spokesman – tweeted that “the reports in the Egyptian media about an alleged Israeli position on the latest events in Egypt are completely and utterly baseless.”
Israel, Gendelman wrote, “does not interfere in Egyptian internal affairs.”
Indeed, officials in both the Prime Minister’s Office and the Foreign Ministry refused any comment Monday on the situation in Egypt, adhering to a policy that has been in place for quite some time regarding the events there – that anything Israel says about the internal situation would only be used against it.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman was the only senior official to publicly say anything about the situation.
Speaking in the Druse village of Maghar in the Upper Galilee, where he was participating in the send-off ceremony for Druse Prof. Naim Araidi, who in September will be taking up his position as Israel’s ambassador to Norway, Liberman said, “I hope that in Egypt we will see the same understanding for cooperation between Israel and Egypt. This is no less an Egyptian interest than an Israeli one.”
Liberman said the “terrorist kingdom” that developed in Sinai over the years was “first and foremost harming Egyptian national security interests, no less than harming Israel’s security.”
Israel was willing to work out numerous issues with Cairo through “mutual respect” and “honoring all agreements,” he said.