Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has urged the US and the West to link the recognition of any new Egyptian government to preserving the country’s peace deal with Israel.
Closely watching days of anti-government protests in Egypt, Netanyahu on Wednesday asked US President Barack Obama and other Western leaders to make sure that the new Egyptian leader would remain committed to peace with Israel.
"Israel believes that the international community must require any Egyptian government to preserve the peace agreement with Israel," the prime minister’s bureau said in a statement.
Israeli officials have repeatedly warned that the implications of regime change in Egypt, one of the country’s only friends in the Arab world, would be enormous for Israel.
Egypt was the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979 following days of secret negotiations at Camp David in the US. Many Egyptians, however, believe that the treaty neither resulted in an end to the Israeli occupation nor opposed it.
During the anti-government demonstrations, many Egyptians have called for an immediate end to their country’s three-decade long relations with Israel.
"After Camp David (accord), all the Arab world sees that we are no longer a leader. Camp David made us a slave," Mohammed Salama said in Cairo, insisting that Egyptians do not want the country to go to war with Israel.
Tel Aviv is anxiously monitoring political developments in Egypt, which can put Israel’s economic and political interests at risk.
Tel Aviv fears that the ongoing popular uprising against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak could threaten its natural gas supplies from the North African nation, which accounts for 40 percent of Israel’s need.
In December, four Israeli firms signed multi-billion-dollar contracts with Egypt to import gas over the next two decades.
For years, with the help of Cairo, Israel has managed to impose crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip. Tel Aviv is worried that regime change in Egypt could result in ending the Gaza siege.