Officials Confident Israel-Egypt Peace Accord Will Last Despite Muslim Brotherhood Concerns

Officials representing Israel and Egypt said Sunday that they believe the peace accord between their countries will withstand the political turmoil in Cairo, despite lingering concerns about the influence the Muslim Brotherhood could gain in the process.

Egyptian Ambassador to the United States Sameh Shoukry said he expects the Egyptian military to abide by its pledge to honor existing treaties, describing the three-decade-old arrangement as mutually beneficial.

"We have derived a peace dividend from the treaty. We've been able to establish security and stability in the region. And I believe it is a main element in terms of our foreign policy," he said on ABC's "This Week."

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak echoed that sentiment.

"I, first of all, want to state that I don't think that the relationship between Israel and Egypt ... is under any risk or that any kind of operational risk is waiting us just behind the corner," he said.
Barak said he does not think the unrest in Egypt, which resulted Friday in President Hosni Mubarak stepping down, is comparable to the 1979 Iranian Revolution which paved the way for a theocracy in that country. However, he cautioned that Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood would be poised to gain power if the door is opened too soon.

"The real winners of any short-term election, let's say, within 90 days, will be the Muslim Brotherhood, because they are already ready to jump," Barak said. "That should be avoided in Egypt, because that could be a catastrophe for the whole region."

He said the Brotherhood did not "initiate" the uprising but that "they are always deployed to take advantage of it."

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., also cautioned against moving toward elections too quickly, for the same reason.

"I worry that we'll rush to an election where the Muslim Brotherhood, who is the most organized but doesn't represent the true will of the Egyptian people, will have a disproportionate effect," Graham said on CNN's "State of the Union."