Defense Ministry department director Amos Gilad’s critical words on the aftermath of the popular uprising in Egypt which resulted in the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak and his replacement with an Islamist president must not be taken to represent the defense establishment’s official position on the matter, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in a statement released by his office Friday evening.
Gilad’s remarks “reflect neither the defense establishment’s position nor Gilad’s own,” Barak said.
The statement was reportedly issued following the receipt in Israel of requests for clarification from Egypt.
“Gilad emphasized the strategic importance of the peace treaty with Egypt and the importance of good relations with Egypt,” read the statement. “Nevertheless, Gilad expressed worry regarding possible changes in the Middle East. The defense establishment, as well as Gilad, do not intend to interfere in internal Egyptian matters.”
Earlier on Friday, Gilad had told students in Herzliya that there was little chance that Israel would maintain high-level diplomatic channels with an increasingly radicalized Egypt, adding that the election of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi as president in Egypt had led to all but frozen ties between Jerusalem and Cairo.
“There’s no talking between our diplomatic corps and theirs, and I believe there will not be in the future. [Morsi] won’t talk with us,” Gilad said to the students. “Out of a desire for democracy, grew a horrifying dictatorship.”
Gilad is a top security official who also serves as an aide to Barak.