Israel's demand to be recognized as a Jewish state is worrying, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit told the al-Arabiya television network.
"If the international community defines Israel as a Jewish state – such a decision should be approved by the UN," Aboul Gheit said.
In the interview, Aboul Gheit equated Israel's demand to Iran's decision to call itself the "Islamic Republic of Iran," saying, "Israel wants to call itself a Jewish or Hebrew state. This is worrying."
The Egyptian FM expressed concern about the fate of Israel's Arabs should the UN approve a resolution defining Israel as a Jewish state. "Will they receive all the civil rights? Will they remain a minority or will they be expelled?" he said.
Turning his attention to the recently launched direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, Aboul Gheit said, "The Israeli side decided to freeze settlement construction, and I called this decision disgraceful because (Israel had issued building) permits that allow continued construction for the next two or three years."
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who attended last week's summit in Washington along with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan's King Abdullah, also urged Israel to extend the construction moratorium in the West Bank.
Mubarak said settlement building constituted a "violation of international law."
Israel and Egypt signed a peace agreement in 1979.
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