Ex-IDF Chief: Moderate Arab Regimes Weakening

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JERUSALEM, Israel - In his first day out of uniform, former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi said moderate Arab regimes in the region are weakening.

Speaking to participants at the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in Jerusalem on Monday evening, Ashkenazi said, "The events in Egypt prove that we need to be modest and careful about our assessments of the Arab world."

The former IDF chief said the "elements that led to a revolution in Egypt exist in other countries in the region as well."

"[Former President Hosni] Mubarak, with all the criticism during the last three decades, was an anchor of stability in the region. We should admit it," he said, "and I hope that that will be the case in Egypt, but there is a weakening of the moderate camp."

While the Egyptian military vowed to honor international treaties, Ashkenazi said Israel will not be caught unawares if a new regime rescinds the 1979 peace agreement with Israel.

"We think, I think at least, that the peace treaty with Egypt, as cold as it is, is of strategic importance to the State of Israel, and I hope that that will be the case, but we have to be ready for that, and we have plans for this situation," he said.

"Peace is a strategic asset for both countries," Ashkenazi continued. "I am satisfied with the continuity in Egypt's military with regard to its foreign policy. I am worried, however, by the weakening status of moderate leaders in the area in relation with the weakening status of the U.S. in the region," he said.

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