Israel’s Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, invited Egypt’s newly-elected president, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, to visit the country as the guest of Israeli President Shimon Peres. The invitation was announced Tuesday in a speech in Tel Aviv, and was in response to Morsi’s statement the day before that he intended to honor Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel, the Jerusalem Post reports.
It is not clear whether the invitation has been presented formally to Egypt’s diplomatic representatives, and still less clear that the new Egyptian leader would accept. Yet the apparent rapprochement is noteworthy, since the Muslims Brotherhood is implacably opposed to peace with Israel, and because Lieberman has taken a hard line against Israeli concessions in talks with the Palestinians, as well as in relations with the Arab world in general.
The moves towards peace have come as tensions between the two countries have been increasing in recent months, first with the ascendancy of the Muslim Brotherhood and then with increasing terror attacks against Israel from the Sinai. Egypt moved tanks into the Sinai to confront terrorists that had launched a cross-border raid, but flouted the peace treaty with Israel in the process. Meanwhile, Morsi has been developing closer relations with Iran–a shift from the prior regime of Hosni Mubarak, who had opposed Iran’s nuclear ambitions.