Netanyahu sees Mursi fall as sign of political Islam's weakness

BERLIN (Reuters) - In rare remarks on Egypt's government crisis, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has suggested that the fall of the president, Mohamed Mursi, demonstrates the weaknesses of political Islamist movements.

"I believe that over the long haul these radical Islamic regimes are going to fail because they don't offer the adequate enfranchisement that you need to develop a country economically, politically and culturally," Netanyahu told the German weekly Welt am Sonntag.

He said he thought radical Islamism was wholly unsuited to dealing with a global economic and information revolution, and "goes right back to medievalism against the whole thrust of modernity, so over time it's bound to fail".

Israel had previously responded more cautiously to Mursi's removal by the Egyptian army on July 3. Netanyahu avoided any comment at the time, though a confidant expressed hope that Egypt's new leaders may restore largely frozen contacts with Israel.

In the interview, Netanyahu reiterated Israel's concern that a U.S.-brokered 1979 peace treaty with Egypt should remain intact, alluding also to a surge of violence in a Sinai border region since Israel's ally Hosni Mubarak was toppled from power in Egypt two years ago.

"Preserving the peace with Egypt through these convulsions is of central importance to us," Netanyahu said.

(Reporting by Sarah Marsh; Writing by Allyn Fisher-Ilan in Jerusalem; Editing by Kevin Liffey)


Updated Date: Jul 22, 2013 00:46 AM

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