New Israeli ambassador arrives in Egypt

AP News
Posted: Dec 12, 2011 6:18 AM
New Israeli ambassador arrives in Egypt

Israel's new ambassador to Egypt arrived in Cairo on Monday, airport officials said, three months after rioters ransacked the Israeli Embassy here.

Yaakov Amitai will join a small number of Israeli diplomatic staff still in the Egyptian capital.

His predecessor left after protesters in September tore down a security wall around the building housing the Israeli Embassy, then stormed and trashed its offices. The assault followed the killing of six Egyptian soldiers by Israeli troops who were pursuing Palestinian militants near the Egyptian border.

Cairo airport officials who confirmed Amitai's arrival Monday spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

Despite tensions since Hosni Mubarak's ouster, Israel and Egypt seem eager to preserve their Mideast peace treaty.

Israel and Egypt signed a U.S.-brokered peace treaty in 1979, the first between Israel and an Arab state. Relations have always been cool, but Mubarak carefully upheld the accord.

The agreement is a key pillar of both countries' security. For Israel, the treaty has allowed it to divert resources to its volatile fronts with Lebanon, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Egypt has benefited by receiving billions of dollars in U.S. military aid.

Egypt's new military leaders have vowed to preserve the peace agreement, but popular sentiment is hostile to Israel, and the ruling generals have taken a tougher stance on Israel.

The strong showing by Islamist parties in Egypt's recent elections has fueled fears in Israel about future ties between the countries.