Israeli Diplomat: West Should Support Egypt

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- The West should support the transition taking place in Egypt, the former Israeli ambassador to Egypt tells CBN News.

Ambassador Zvi Mazel says the ousting of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi on July 3 was a "positive development."

"Under the nose of the West, Morsi and his government were building an Islamic dictatorship," Mazel said, a fact he believes is still not well understood by the media or some governments.

After being sworn in, Morsi gave himself the most extensive powers a president can give himself, but he was forced to backtrack after a few days because the people were against him, the former ambassador explained.

Mazel believes that without the leadership of interim Defense Minister Fatah El Sisi, the situation in Egypt would have become a civil war and thousands would have been killed. 

"The Muslim Brotherhood was ready to kill 10,000 people," he said. "If Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood would have stayed in power for another two years, the Brotherhood would have taken control of the army and the police, and the Egyptian people would have found themselves in an Iranian situation."

"What happened in Egypt on July 3 was not only positive," he said, "it was at the last minute."

Obama Administration Reticent

The Obama administration, which backed the downfall of former President Hosni Mubarak -- who forcefully opposed the Brotherhood during his regime -- has held back overt support of the interim government.

Obama told the U.N. General Assembly Tuesday the U.S. had "purposely avoided choosing sides" in Egypt, saying "our support will depend upon Egypt's progress in pursuing a democratic path."

Mazel says what has taken place in Egypt is technically a coup d'etat, but one that saved Egypt, Israel and the United States from a disaster.

Egypt will be under civilian, not military, rule, he says because, "Egyptians want to create a pro-Western, democratic country."

Hamas 'in Trouble'

Meanwhile, Hamas, the Islamist faction ruling the Gaza Strip, suffered a major setback with Morsi's ousting. Mazel says Hamas is "in trouble."

"It is the wing of the Muslim Brotherhood in Gaza, the enemy of Egypt, that has brought weapons and terrorists into the Sinai," he says.

The interim government's crackdown on terror cells operating in the Sinai Desert has also put Hamas in the crosshairs. Egyptian security forces have sealed many of the smuggling tunnels near the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip.

"The Egyptians found rockets with stamps -- Gaza-built Kassam -- there," he said. "They did a lot of damage."

"What we see happening now in Egypt is the setting up of a pro-Western regime," Mazel says. "[Interim President Adli] Mansour was the president of Egypt's constitutional court. All the people in the interim government are technocrats who know the West. They are close to the West."

Mazel hopes both Washington and Europe will rethink their positions because Egypt needs the West's support.

"Fifty percent of Egyptians live below the poverty line and 30 to 40 percent are illiterate," Mazel explained. "Only the West can give Egypt the kind of help it needs. Egypt has a population of 85 million people. It is a friend of the West, the most moderate Arab country."

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