Israel follows Egyptian elections with interest, concern

Ahram Online, Wednesday 23 May 2012

Israeli press and politicians are aware that the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt may be affected by the result of the election

A ballot box waits in a school-turned-polling station, the day before the polls open. (Photo: Reuters)

The Israeli press and government are anxiously monitoring political developments in Egypt, as Egyptians vote on Wednesday and Thursday to elect their first president since the fall of Hosni Mubarak last year.

The Israeli defence minister Ehud Barak has said that Egypt's presidential candidates should proclaim their commitment to the Camp David Accords, signed by both countries in 1979.

Barak referred to the desire of the Egyptian masses to preserve the peaceful and stable status quo which has characterised Egyptian-Israeli relations since the late 1970s.

In an article in Al-Siyassa Al-Dawliya, Said Okasha, an expert at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, argued that the officials of the Israeli state are keen to show that they are not interfering in Egypt's domestic affairs, to avoid any accusation of biases towards specific candidates.

The Egyptian candidates have called for some amendments in the peace treaty with Israel, involving the limitations on Egyptian security arrangements and deployment of military troops in Sinai, which borders Israel.

The candidates have also vowed to work on resolving the Palestinian question and reaching a comprehensive and just settlement to the Arab-Israeli peace process.

The Israeli press generally predicted that the electoral process would be free and fair. Nevertheless, The Jerusalem Post mentioned that the absence of "reliable opinion polls" has led to uncertainty about the expected results of the vote.

Haaretz, along with most Israeli newspapers, was concerned about a possible Islamist victory, amid the growing popularity of "proponents of political Islam" who swept Egypt's recent parliamentary elections.

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