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Morsi: Palestinian welcome, mixed Israeli reaction

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Morsi: Palestinian welcome, mixed Israeli reaction


There was a mixed reaction in Israel to the election of Mohammed Morsi as president in neighbouring Egypt.

Some residents echoed newspaper headlines that predicted a cooling in already chilly relations between the two.

But there was pragmatism as well, with hopes expressed that the leader of the once-banned Muslim Brotherhood movement will temper his line.

Former Israeli ambassador to Egypt, Yitzhak Levanon said: “Morsi has good contact with Hamas. But I know that Egypt – and he has to do this – is seeking a kind of Palestinian reconciliation, so he will have to talk also with (Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, also known as) Abu Mazen. Secondly I think that he will reach some kind of stability in the region, which is very important for Egypt. Stability is good also for Israel.”

There was delight in the Gaza Strip where the governing Hamas faction welcomed the victory of the kindred Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said it would help support the Palestinian people.

“We will look to Egypt to play a big, leading role, an historic role in promoting the Palestinian cause, in helping the Palestinian nation get freedom, return home and totally end the Gaza siege. I hope Egypt is united,” he said.

While they chanted Morsi’s name in Islamist-controlled Gaza, there were also welcoming words from their secular rivals in the West Bank, where a Fatah spokesman said all Arab and Islamic nations, and Palestinians, are interested in what happens in Egypt.

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