Last month, seven years after his election to Egypt’s presidency, the Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammad Morsi died during court proceedings in which he was being tried on spying for Hamas. Shortly after winning his country’s first democratic election, Morsi had attempted to undo the constitutional restrictions on his power, prompting demonstrations and eventually the coup that placed him in prison and his defense minister, Mohammad Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, in the presidency. Morsi had already been convicted of other crimes by the time of his death. Orit Perlov and Ofir Winter comment on what Morsi might have portended for Israel:
Contrary to initial concerns, the peace treaty [with Israel] held during Morsi’s presidency, and Egypt even strengthened oversight of its border with Gaza and helped mediate between Israel and Hamas during Operation Pillar of Defense. However, Morsi consistently avoided mentioning the name “Israel” in his speeches, made statements in support of Hamas, and enabled visits to the Strip by Iranian and Turkish delegates.
[I]t is very doubtful that his fundamental hostility toward Israel would have allowed the preservation of the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty over time, not to mention any advancement of cooperation (which is flourishing under Sisi) on strategic issues of security and energy. It is not impossible that a continued Morsi rule would have brought rapprochement between Egypt and the pro-Iran axis or the creation of an Egyptian-Turkish Islamist axis.
[I]t is obvious that strengthening Israeli-Egyptian peace relations is conditional on, inter alia, weakening the forces of radical Islam, including the Muslim Brotherhood, and on bolstering—at their expense—pragmatic and liberal political and civic forces.