A letter supposedly sent from the Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy to his Israeli counterpart Shimon Peres has been met with contradictory statements in Egypt and Israel.
The letter was a response to another letter sent to Morsy by Peres congratulating his recent appointment as president and wishing him a happy Ramadan. The letter itself is quite brief. Morsy thanked Peres for his well wishes, and stated that he is “looking forward to exerting our best efforts to get the Middle East Peace Process back to its right track in order to achieve security and stability for all peoples of the region, including [the] Israeli people.”
But now that the letter has come to light, an official spokesperson for Morsy has denied such a letter ever being written. The letter was revealed on Tuesday, after the office of Peres released a copy of the letter they claim to have received via fax through the Egyptian embassy in Tel-Aviv.
Morsy’s official spokesperson, Yasser Aly, had told Al-Ahram that the exchange was fabricated, blaming Israeli newspapers for what he calls slander. “This is completely unfounded, and President Morsy did not send any letters to the Israeli President,” he was quoted as saying. “What the Israeli newspapers published in this regard on Tuesday is slander, and the slander will not stop.”
Supporting the claim that the letter may be a fake, a member of the Egyptian embassy’s press office in Israel told the Daily News Egypt that such letters do not normally go through embassies, but from one president’s office to another. He further stated that as long as the President’s office denies such a letter originated from their office, that is the position they must take.
The denial of the letter came after Leon Panetta, the United States Secretary of Defence and former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, left Cairo for Jerusalem. During his visit in Cairo, Panetta praised Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi’s role in providing a smooth democratic transition to a civilian government.
Panetta’s visit came after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had visited both Morsy and Tantawi. The visits from the leading US officials are testament to attempts by the US to ensure their interests, particularly Israeli relations, are not compromised. Under Mubarak, the US enjoyed a significant support from Egypt toward their foreign policy objectives and their meetings with Morsy and Tantawi indicate a similar trend.
Israel and Egypt have managed to keep the peace for three decades, but their relationship has been anything but prosperous. Mubarak was seen as being a supporter of US foreign policy, but the Muslim Brotherhood is known for its anti-Israeli stance. As of late, however, the Brotherhood has remained quite silent in regards to Israel, hinting at a more moderate approach to the Arab-Israeli issue now that the group has come to power