Israel Concerned by Islamist Success in Egyptian Vote

Jerusalem, Dec. 4 – Egypt must realize it has "no alternative" to maintaining its peace accord with the Jewish state, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Saturday.

"I very much hope that, whatever government arises in Egypt, with whatever constitution arises in Egypt, it will understand that ... there is no alternative but to maintain the framework of international agreements, including the peace accord with us," Barak said in a television interview.

His comments came as initial results from the first round of parliamentary voting in Egypt pointed to a victory for Islamist parties.

There are still three months of voting to come in the complex Egyptian elections, but the results for the first third of the 498 seats in the national assembly have the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Freedom and Justice party leading with 36.6 percent of the valid ballots cast, with the radical-Islamist Nour party closely trailing with 24.3 percent.

Despite published assurances by the Muslim Brotherhood that it is a “moderate and fair party," Israel is concerned that its expected rise to power in Egyptian politics may mean the end of peaceful ties. Brotherhood officials have in the past called for the end of the peace treaty, and the party has close ties with the Iran-backed Hamas terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip that calls for Israel’s destruction.

The 1979 peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, the most powerful Arab country, has been an anchor of stability in the region. To date, Egypt has been a major player in bridging between Israel and the Palestinians.

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