"Out of the desire for democracy, an appalling dictatorship has emerged in Egypt,"
said defense official Amos Gilad
Friday in rare criticism of the new regime in Cairo.
Speaking at a panel in Herzliya, Gilad said that "there is no dialogue between Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi
and Israel's political echelon and there won't be. He won't talk to us."
Nevertheless, Gilad stressed that the peace treaty with Egypt must be preserved at "any cost."
The defense official also estimated that there is little chance of reaching a peace agreement with the Palestinians but believes that Israel must maintain a dialogue with the Palestinian Authority "in order to preserve the security cooperation."
Last August, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman surprised many when he called on Morsi to visit
Israel but Cairo soon dismissed
the invitation. A senior official in the Freedom and Justice Party described it as "diplomatic rebelliousness" and stressed that "there is no possibility for Morsi to visit the Zionist entity."
In an article published by Egyptian online magazine al-Wafd, Gamal Heshmat said that "accepting Israel's invitation would be unimaginable."
On Friday evening, Defense Minister Ehud Barak's
office issued the following statement: "The remarks reported today by Maj.-Gen. (Res.) Gilad do not reflect the defense establishment's position, nor do they reflect Gilad's position.
"His remarks focused on the strategic importance of the Israel-Egypt peace treaty and the importance of normal relations with Egypt. Nevertheless, Maj.-Gen. (Res.) Gilad expressed concerns over a possible upheaval in the Middle East.
"the defense establishment and Maj.-Gen. (Res.) Gilad have no intention of interfering in Egypt's internal affairs."