Did Egypt’s new Islamist president send Israel a goodwill message?

posted at 5:23 pm on August 3, 2012 by Allahpundit

This story has been bugging me all week.

A letter to Israel from Egypt’s new president hoping for regional peace kicked up a stir Tuesday when the Egyptian leader’s Islamist movement denied he sent it. Israel insisted the letter was genuine…

In it, Morsi appeared to write in English, “I am 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 that Israeli people.” The Israeli president’s name was spelled “Perez.”…

An official in Peres’s office — speaking anonymously because the issue concerned sensitive diplomatic relations between the two countries — said the president’s aides received the official communique Tuesday from the Egyptian ambassador to Israel, both by registered mail and by fax from the embassy in Tel Aviv.

Peres’s office asked the Egyptian ambassador if it could publicize the letter or if it should be kept secret, the official said. The Egyptian envoy phoned Morsi’s office to inquire, the official said, and then told Peres’s aides that Morsi’s staff had given the green light to make the letter public.

Israel made the letter public, whereupon Morsi’s spokesman promptly denied he had sent it and called it a “fabrication.” As literally everyone in the world expected he would.

Only in the Middle East could something this simple be this complicated. Three obvious possibilities about what really happened, and I’m eager to hear from readers who know more about Israeli/Egyptian relations than I do (which is pretty much everyone) which theory they think is right. One: Egypt’s ruling military junta sent the letter under Morsi’s name, possibly with an eye to reassuring Israel that the peace will hold and possibly to weaken Morsi with his own Islamist base. The Egyptian ambassador doubtless answers to the generals right now, not to Morsi, so there’s no contradiction in him “confirming” for Peres’s staff that Morsi really did send it if the junta is behind this. Two: Israel concocted the letter themselves. No doubt they could do it if they wanted to, but, er, why would they want to? All it would do is irritate Morsi and, possibly and more importantly, Gen. Tantawi and the military leadership. My sense is that Israel’s hypercautious right now about upsetting the fragile status quo with Egypt, especially when they’re focused elsewhere, on Iran. Making up a fake message from Morsi defies that strategy.

Three, the likely answer: Morsi really did send it and is now lying his ass off. It’s obvious why he might lie — maybe he meant for it to be secret and had to retreat after his staff accidentally let it be published, or maybe he underestimated the grief he would get from the Brotherhood once they found it. It’s not obvious to me, though, why he would have sent the message in the first place. It’s the military that’s at peace with Israel, not so much the Egyptian public; railing against Zionism would be an easy way for Morsi to rally popular sentiment behind him and against the generals. So then … why the outreach? Is he doing it as theater for American viewers, in hopes of building some relationships in the U.S. government that might potentially rival the generals’? Is it some kind of faux outreach to Israel such that, when the peace eventually crumbles, the Brotherhood can turn around and say, falsely, “Hey, we tried”? In that case, why deny that Morsi sent the letter? Any insights are welcome.

Exit question: Even if he did sent it, does it matter?


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This!:

Three, the likely answer: Morsi really did send it and is now lying his ass off. It’s obvious why he might lie — maybe he meant for it to be secret and had to retreat after his staff accidentally let it be published, or maybe he underestimated the grief he would get from the Brotherhood once they found it. It’s not obvious to me, though, why he would have sent the message in the first place. It’s the military that’s at peace with Israel, not so much the Egyptian public; railing against Zionism would be an easy way for Morsi to rally popular sentiment behind him and against the generals. So then … why the outreach? Is he doing it as theater for American viewers, in hopes of building some relationships in the U.S. government that might potentially rival the generals’? Is it some kind of faux outreach to Israel such that, when the peace eventually crumbles, the Brotherhood can turn around and say, falsely, “Hey, we tried”? In that case, why deny that Morsi sent the letter?

That’s the way the cookie crumbles over there sorry to say…

Scrumpy on August 3, 2012 at 5:27 PM

Obviously the President is a moderate, but he doesn’t want to get assassinated by some of his radical base.

V-rod on August 3, 2012 at 5:27 PM

rhymes with tequila but in the name of jihad

DanMan on August 3, 2012 at 5:28 PM

Pres. Obama, pick up Line 1, we have another lying leader who needs guidance….

hillsoftx on August 3, 2012 at 5:30 PM

It is all a theatrical play, it’s a game they play, say somthing, print somthing then deny it as loudly as possible.

Remember that muslims can lie are told to lie in the Koran, if it gets them what they want in the end.

Mohammed apparently over looks lies that benefit the overall ’cause’ of complete Islamification of the world as we know it!

Scrumpy on August 3, 2012 at 5:31 PM

McCain wrote this letter on behalf of Morsi

burrata on August 3, 2012 at 5:32 PM

The industrialized world depends on oil from a region where you must disavow a peace overture sent by registered mail.

Insanity has a way of disrupting supply.

All things considered, maybe we should find somewhere else to get oil from.

MessesWithTexas on August 3, 2012 at 5:33 PM

A forged letter asking if the Israelis have some little boys they want to send to Egypt to be buggered just wouldn’t have the same impact, so the generals had to do this to discredit the Brotherhood.

pedestrian on August 3, 2012 at 5:33 PM

“Because, even because they have seduced My (God’s) people, (Israel)saying, ‘Peace’,and there was no peace …” (Ezekiel 13:10)

“For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of My people (Israel) slightly, saying, ‘Peace, Peace’;when there IS NO PEACE!” (Jeremiah 8:11)

ted c on August 3, 2012 at 5:33 PM

Three, the likely answer: Morsi really did send it and is now lying his ass off.

THE EGYPTIAN DAILY BUGLER
CLASSIFIED: LOST AND FOUND

~ Lost: One ass. If found pls contact Mohammed Morsi, Presidential Palace

petefrt on August 3, 2012 at 5:37 PM

Lying Muslims lie about a lying Muslim. What is so difficult to understand?

BL@KBIRD on August 3, 2012 at 5:40 PM

Doused in anthrax?

SouthernGent on August 3, 2012 at 5:41 PM

Taqqiya.

hoosiermama on August 3, 2012 at 5:45 PM

Bibi has been there and done that, do you think he will bite? Bibi knows the rop type and bho very well and none are gonna help Israel, IMO!
L

letget on August 3, 2012 at 5:46 PM

Morsi remembers when Anwar Sadat got that special payback for the Camp David accords.

Pharoahs gotta hate.

PappyD61 on August 3, 2012 at 5:48 PM

Maybe Morsi is more concerned about Iran than Israel and he was legitimately trying to reach out to build some kind of covert alliance, temporarily anyway. In that case, Israel may have screwed up by releasing the letter. Unless Israel just wanted to undermine Morsi.

But then, no likely alternative to Morsi would be better for Israeli’s interests unless it was a military leader.

It’s like a House of Mirrors trying to figure this one out.

Cicero43 on August 3, 2012 at 5:49 PM

I’m getting a funny feeling this and the recent request from Egypt for Obama to release a Guantamo prisoner is connected.

Good faith?

plutorocks on August 3, 2012 at 5:55 PM

He wrote it 5 years ago and it’s just making it’s way through the Islamic system? I think this is just a continuation of the mess that is the Middle East. You may want peace, but the mullahs and the schools continue to preach war. Look at what happened to Sadat. What did Morsi say when this became public…Oi Vey!!

Deano1952 on August 3, 2012 at 6:00 PM

4. Morsi is Mossad! Those clever Juice!

slickwillie2001 on August 3, 2012 at 6:05 PM

Obviously the President is a moderate, but he doesn’t want to get assassinated by some of his radical base.

V-rod on August 3, 2012 at 5:27 PM

Morsi is NOT a moderate. He has publicly called for the destruction of Israel and stated in a speech a mere two months prior to his election:

The Quran is our constitution, jihad is our path, and death for the sake of Allah is our most lofty aspiration. Above all – Allah is our goal… The shari’a, then the shari’a, and finally, the shari’a. This nation will enjoy blessing and revival only through the Islamic shari’a. I take an oath before Allah and before you all that regardless of the actual text [of the constitution]… Allah willing, the text will truly reflect [the shari'a], as will be agreed upon by the Egyptian people, by the Islamic scholars, and by legal and constitutional experts.”

- Mohammed Morsi, President of Egypt

The “actual text” includes those that refer to Jews as “pigs,” “apes,” and “despised,” require the conversion of infidels or their death, require jihad for a caliphate, and make women second-class citizens, etc.

The Muslim Brotherhood is not a “moderate” or “secular” organisation no matter how many times Hillary Clinton, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, or John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security, claim otherwise.

* Our own FBI chief testified in 2011 that the MB was a terrorist supporter.

* It is considered a terrorist organisation by many countries.

* It is certainly connected to many terrorist organisations.

* Some of the first votes of the MB-dominated Egyptian parliament included the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador and the unilateral rending of a contract that supplied natural gas to Israel.

* It was proven in the Holy Land Foundation case that the MB and its affiliates had a goal to undermine the government of the United States and sponsored terrorism. A judge ordered the HLF, along with the Islamic Association of Palestine and the Quranic Literacy Institute, — all MB affiliates, to pay $156 million for aiding and abetting Hamas, the Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch, in the murder of an American citizen.

Resist We Much on August 3, 2012 at 6:05 PM

What about another option:

A third-party, faked the letter.

The principle point in favour of this option is, as clear as mud, that it makes no less sense than any of the other options proposed.

YiZhangZhe on August 3, 2012 at 6:08 PM

The Muslim Brotherhood is more sophisticated and subtle in their rhetoric and diplomacy than the rest of the Israel hating and jihadist Muslim organizations.

That’s why so many of the more impatient fire breathers broke away and formed their own terrorist organizations — Hamas, Islamic Jihad, al Qaeda, etc. The MB has a solid track record as an incubator and breading ground for terrorists, while pleasantly denying with a smile that they have anything to do with it.

I would not believe a word any member of the MB says WRT Israel. I doubt the Israelis do. In any event, actions are all that matter. Words are worthless and often meaningless.

farsighted on August 3, 2012 at 6:08 PM

Three, the likely answer: Morsi really did send it and is now lying his ass off. It’s obvious why he might lie — maybe he meant for it to be secret and had to retreat after his staff accidentally let it be published, or maybe he underestimated the grief he would get from the Brotherhood once they found it. It’s not obvious to me, though, why he would have sent the message in the first place.

I’ve settled on this. He sent it. He is lying. Israel knows it.

He is playing both sides of the fence, talking out of both sides of his mouth.

From what I’ve read this is standard practice in that part of the world.

Why? Who knows. Logic is a bit different in that part of the world.

Does it matter? If it influences the naive Israeli peace-at-any-cost faction, maybe. It’s a straw for them to grasp.

farsighted on August 3, 2012 at 6:23 PM

Well obviously he wants some kind of gift/tribute. Probably cash.

get the Middle east Peace Process back to its right track

I wish we could stop talking about the BS Peace Process. It always goes the same way.

Israel says, ok we’ll give you 95% of everything you want if you’ll behave like civilized human beings. And the Paleostininans respond, “Actually we’re going to stick out for that 5%. You know, the bit where you all totally leave or die and we erase Israel as a country”

CorporatePiggy on August 3, 2012 at 7:11 PM

Egypt’s ruling military junta sent the letter under Morsi’s name,

Just a little technical point: you can send a letter over someone’s name (i.e., above the signature) or in someone’s name, but not “under” his name.

bgoldman on August 3, 2012 at 7:31 PM

This story has been bugging me all week.

Apparently you and 24 other people. ; ). Maybe if the story had included trains. Lol! Sorry Allah, couldn’t resist.

Bmore on August 3, 2012 at 7:46 PM

Oh, Allah, as far as the letter. Why it was sent, if it was, by who,for what reason etc. I have no idea. Read the NYC piece and your comments. I got nothing. Sorry again.

Bmore on August 3, 2012 at 7:52 PM

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2012/08/01/world/ISRAEL/ISRAEL-articleLarge.jpg

what a very telling picture..Leon Panetta is so much closer to the Muslim Brotherhood president than the military commander and also has a huge grin on his face..why they almost look like bff’s

sadsushi on August 3, 2012 at 7:57 PM

Did Egypt’s new Islamist president send Israel a goodwill message?

Yeah. Yep. Yep. Sure did.

minnesoter on August 3, 2012 at 8:41 PM

Oy. Hillary wanted him to send it, she was just there when this was all being arranged / going down. Her and Peres rigged up a letter which had been sent 1st. It’s just games, Peres is a figurehead he’s a 90 year old peacenik. By law in Israel he’s not even allowed to engage in politics. President is a ceremonial position in Israel.

What’s really annoying is how in order to present the M Brotherhood as moderate + wonderful, camp hillary and all the US media enablers make a big deal of nothing. The Brotherhood position is that the “peace accords” need to be “renegotiated”. Take every Palestinian maximalist position, ie flooding + destroying Israel with millions of Pali refugees, handing over Jerusalem to Islam, handing over all territory to Arabs and you have the Brotherhood version of “peace”.
No different than every other maximalist Palestinian position. Suddenly this is great news? Pls stop being suckers America. This whole letter thing was a non story in Israel because we know it’s all nonsense. You know who made it a story? The Obama campaign / Libs covering for their warm french kiss and embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood.

saus on August 3, 2012 at 11:42 PM

My bet would be that Morisi wrote and sent it genuinely… then the people who control him made him back off of his genuine sentiments.

eski502 on August 4, 2012 at 12:35 AM

Three, the likely answer: Morsi really did send it and is now lying his ass off.

Yes, it’s true, this Morsi fellow really is an assless chap.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on August 4, 2012 at 1:42 AM

Given the very limited subject matter and the wording, and the fact that nothing else was discussed, leads me to believe it was genuine.

The fact that it was misspelled and had some other grammatical typos suggests that no careful attention has been paid in writing it, maybe meaning that Israel is not really on Egypt’s government’s mind right now. Believe it or not, a country of 90 million people who’s just had a revolution does have internal issues to resolve.

Morsi understands his duties to stability in Egypt, maintaining peace in the region, not going on a very costly and destructive adventure to Egypt such as war, and not upsetting the decades-old relationship between Egypt and the United States. That’s why he made this minimalistic token gesture to the Israeli government and the US, but internally and to his constituency he must deny it because in Egypt Israel is extremely unpopular in most circles.

Many Arab countries don’t have official relationships with Israel but do have secret ones. In that context, I (nor the Israeli government) are not surprised with this behaviour.

AlexB on August 4, 2012 at 2:47 AM

Given the very limited subject matter and the wording, and the fact that nothing else was discussed, leads me to believe it was genuine.

The fact that it was misspelled and had some other grammatical typos suggests that no careful attention has been paid in writing it, maybe meaning that Israel is not really on Egypt’s government’s mind right now. Believe it or not, a country of 90 million people who’s just had a revolution does have internal issues to resolve.

Morsi understands his duties to stability in Egypt, maintaining peace in the region, not going on a very costly and destructive adventure to Egypt such as war, and not upsetting the decades-old relationship between Egypt and the United States. That’s why he made this minimalistic token gesture to the Israeli government and the US, but internally and to his constituency he must deny it because in Egypt Israel is extremely unpopular in most circles.

Many Arab countries don’t have official relationships with Israel but do have secret ones. In that context, I (nor the Israeli government) are not surprised with this behaviour.

AlexB on August 4, 2012 at 2:47 AM

+100

I am quite sure there has been more ‘under the counter’ communications throughout the middle east concerning Iran than one might suspect. Besides, the rhetoric out of DC is no worse than this….behind the scenes deals with public protestations is nothing new.

I think the Saudis, Egypt, Jordan and the rest of the ‘moderates’ in the area would prefer that Israel just take care of the ‘Iranian problem’…..wouldn’t be surprised to hear rumors of ‘funding’ either…..

Anti_anti on August 4, 2012 at 5:49 AM

Maybe the Egyptian Islamists want to remain as much of a question mark as possible and keep the Israeli population as undecided as possible as to Morsi’s intentions, but I’m sure the political class knows what kind of enemies they currently have on their hands.

TonyR on August 4, 2012 at 5:52 AM

The letter is genuine, but it was to the wrong recipient. He meant to send it to Rosie Perez and it was supposed to say he hopes he could “keep it real,” not peace with Israel.

Rixon on August 4, 2012 at 7:02 AM

Egypt is broke – no tourism, no exports, no income. Egypt imports about 40% of it caloric intake. It’s currency reserves are near zero.

Egypt has long been one of the largest recipients of various kinds of US aid. If he sent the letter I expect it was a quid pro quo. Letter (and the ostensible policy behind it) = US dollars.

Viator on August 4, 2012 at 7:39 AM

I would say this is option 3# Morsi playing standard Arab double game.

Morsi knows he must have that 3bil a year from the US and the US support for the IMF to keep his economy alive or he will go the way all the other Islamist leaders go.

Morsi will play old card blame the Jews and the west for all the countries ills (people love excuses) while at the same time in back doors try to be on sustainable relations with those same parties.

Our backing and allowing of these old practices is why we have given liberally to these regions for generations yet they hate US north of 70%. I understand short my-enemy-is-my-enemy agreements were you assist people who hate you while ignoring their rabble rousing against your people.

But why now? We should be trying to shape these situations toward our favor, supporting without shame those groups who either do want go relations or at least doesn’t with to rabble rouse against US. Look at the “democratic student movement” in Egypt. Our support of anyone even the brotherhood a group that is a longtime sworn enemy who even has ties to AQ Zarkawi.BIH and Zawahiri no less, has forced them to pick up the easy rabble rousing stick aswell. congrats “O” another fine job.

C-Low on August 4, 2012 at 9:17 AM

Given the very limited subject matter and the wording, and the fact that nothing else was discussed, leads me to believe it was genuine.

The fact that it was misspelled and had some other grammatical typos suggests that no careful attention has been paid in writing it, maybe meaning that Israel is not really on Egypt’s government’s mind right now. Believe it or not, a country of 90 million people who’s just had a revolution does have internal issues to resolve.

Poor wording would be consistent with a letter sent in secret, because if one is planning on denying that one wrote it, presumably one wouldn’t circulate it through the normal channels for checking these things.

Morsi understands his duties to stability in Egypt, maintaining peace in the region, not going on a very costly and destructive adventure to Egypt such as war, and not upsetting the decades-old relationship between Egypt and the United States. That’s why he made this minimalistic token gesture to the Israeli government and the US, but internally and to his constituency he must deny it because in Egypt Israel is extremely unpopular in most circles.

Many Arab countries don’t have official relationships with Israel but do have secret ones. In that context, I (nor the Israeli government) are not surprised with this behaviour.

AlexB on August 4, 2012 at 2:47 AM

If there is an under-the-counter relationship, why publicise the letter? If the letter is genuinely from Mr Morsi yet must be denied, who wanted it publicised and why?

YiZhangZhe on August 4, 2012 at 6:40 PM