Middle East

Israel, Egypt, Manage To Argue Over Friendly Letter

Going public with an amicable letter from Egypt's president may have cost Israeli officials good will

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A friendly letter from the new President of Egypt, Mohammed Morsi, to his counterpart in Israel, had been hailed as an unexpected sign that Egypt under the Muslim Brotherhood intended to maintain cordial ties with Israel.

That sign was fleeting, however.

In a day of diplomatic confusion that involved not only Egypt and Israel but also the visiting American Defence Secretary, Leon Panetta, Egyptian and Israeli officials contradicted each other's accounts of how or even whether the two Presidents had communicated, leaving the state of relations roughly where they began—in uncomfortable uncertainty.