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Netanyahu: Morsi fall a sign of political Islam's weakness

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, second right, chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, July 21, 2013. Uriel Sinai / AP

BERLIN — In rare remarks on Egypt's government crisis, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has suggested that the fall of the president, Mohamed Morsi, demonstrates the weaknesses of political Islamist movements.

"I believe that over the long haul these radical Islamic regimes are going to fail because they don't offer the adequate enfranchisement that you need to develop a country economically, politically and culturally," Netanyahu told the German weekly Welt am Sonntag.

He said he thought radical Islamism was wholly unsuited to dealing with a global economic and information revolution, and "goes right back to medievalism against the whole thrust of modernity, so over time it's bound to fail".

Israel had previously responded more cautiously to Morsi's removal by the Egyptian army on July 3. Netanyahu avoided any comment at the time, though a confidant expressed hope that Egypt's new leaders may restore largely frozen contacts with Israel.

In the interview, Netanyahu reiterated Israel's concern that a U.S.-brokered 1979 peace treaty with Egypt should remain intact, alluding also to a surge of violence in a Sinai border region since Israel's ally Hosni Mubarak was toppled from power in Egypt two years ago.

"Preserving the peace with Egypt through these convulsions is of central importance to us," Netanyahu said.