Morsi, a member of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood party, entered office after the 2011 Egyptian uprising against the regime of former dictator Hosni Mubarak.
Brigadier General Aryeh Eldad wrote in an article in Maariv newspaper that Israeli intelligence officials had reason to believe that Morsi “intended to cancel the peace agreement with Israel and send more Egyptian military forces to the Sinai Peninsula.”
In 1978, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin signed the Camp David peace agreement that, among other things, required Israel to withdraw all forces from the Sinai Peninsula while limiting the number of forces Cairo could deploy to the region.
The peace agreement also called for the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
According to Eldad, when Israeli officials found out about Morsi’s alleged plans, they made it a priority to overthrow the Egyptian president and replace him with the current president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who served as Morsi’s defense minister before the coup.
“At that stage, Israel was quick and willing to activate its diplomatic tools, and perhaps even greater means, to bring Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to power in Egypt, and convince the then US administration under President Barack Obama not to oppose this move,” wrote the Israeli general.
Sisi came to power in 2014, a year after leading the successful military coup against Morsi. Today he enjoys overwhelming support in the Egyptian parliament, which voted earlier this year in favor of constitutional changes that could potentially extend his presidency until 2034.
Morsi, 68, has been serving a 20-year prison term on charges of ordering the arrest and torture of protesters, a 25-year jail term on charges of passing intelligence to Qatar and a three-year term for insulting the judiciary.
The Detention Review Panel, a team of UK legislators and attorneys commissioned by Morsi’s family, warned last year that he was likely to face “premature death” in prison, where he was being held in low-standard conditions and received “cruel” and “inhuman” treatment.
Today, Jordan and Egypt are the only two Arab states to have full diplomatic ties with Israel, but the relations remain limited and taboo among the general populations.
A November report by the UK-based Arabic newspaper Al-Araby Al-Jadeed said Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Sisi had been working together to persuade other Arab leaders to establish close trade ties with Israel while working to resolve political differences with the Tel Aviv regime as well.
Forty years after the signing of Camp David, it is clear that Israel is committed “to having Egypt on [its] side,” Eldad wrote, citing Israel’s reported sale of German submarines to Egypt and the commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the Camp David agreement as evidence for his claim.
“Contrary to all Israeli expectations, the Camp David agreement, which was made 40 years ago, has lasted for many decades despite the lack of real peace between us and the Egyptians, and despite the failure to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict,” he argued.