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Israel's ex-ambassador expects more turmoil in Egypt

February 17, 2014 at 1:49 am

Israel’s ex-ambassador to Egypt, Zvi Mazel, has said that the turmoil in Egypt “is not going to settle down soon… it will escalate and result in more casualties.” Mr. Mazel’s comments were reported by Al-Mesryoon news website after he made them on Israel’s Channel 7 television. He said that the current unrest will distract the Muslim Brotherhood from Israeli affairs “for years”.

Mazel told the Israeli TV station that Egypt’s problem lies in trying to implement democracy after many years of dictatorship. The opposition, he claimed, believes that President Mohamed Morsi has been trying to strengthen his position and control rather than looking at social and economic issues.

The ambassador, who served for five years in Cairo during the former Egyptian regime, pointed out that Egypt lived under autocratic rule for 5,000 years from the pharaohs to Hosni Mubarak. “You cannot change suddenly to be democratic,” he said.

According to Mazel, the conflict between the liberals and Islamists will last for some time because the liberals are “united” and the Muslim Brotherhood is not ready to give up authority. “In fact, the Muslim Brotherhood is expected to do anything to stay in power.” He described the movement as “anti-Semitic” but said that internal problems will distract the government in Cairo from looking at Israeli affairs “for the next few years”.

The Israeli diplomat, who is alleged to be on the right-wing politically, does not expect Egypt to cancel the peace treaty with Israel. “The Egyptians are afraid of upsetting the US and EU,” he said, “and that they might stop economic support for Egypt.”