Israel warily watched Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s resignation unfold Friday, concerned about the countries’ peace treaty.
The 30-year autocrat’s decision to step down from power, which comes after 18 days of widespread protests in Cairo and other major Egyptian cities, was announced by Vice President Omar Suleiman in a televised broadcast Friday night.
While Israel’s government has declined official comment on the new development, Israeli officials are worried that the ouster of their Arab ally could mean trouble.
“We have a tough period ahead of us,” Zvi Mazel, a former Israeli ambassador in Egypt, told Israel TV, according to AP. “Iran and Turkey will consolidate positions against us. Forget about the former Egypt. Now it’s a completely new reality, and it won’t be easy.”
After Turkey abandoned its alliance last year, Jordan is the only remaining Arab country that still has a peace deal with Israel, AP reports.
Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, an Israeli Labor Party Knesset member and former defense minister, voiced concern over Mubarak’s resignation.
“From this day on, I only have lots of questions about what will be, what will be the fate of the peace treaty between us and the Egyptians?” Ben-Eliezer told Israel TV’s Channel 10, as quoted by AP. “There are many questions that we don’t have answers for, how will this affect the entire region now?”
The peace treaty between Israel and Egypt has been in effect since 1979.