Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood categorically rejects dialogue with Israel, the
group’s spokesman told an Arabic newspaper in an interview published
Mahmoud Ghazlan told London’s Asharq Alawsat daily that the
Islamist group’s position is “clear and not up for discussion.” Ghazlan denied
his organization had been contacted by Israel’s embassy in Cairo, and said it
would “reject any request from the Israeli embassy to meet with leaders of the
Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told Army Radio on
Tuesday that Israel “has not closed the door” to the new government in Cairo and
“would be happy to conduct dialogue with anyone prepared to talk with us.”
Palmor said he believes Egypt would continue to honor the 1979 peace treaty with
Israel, which he said serves the interests of both countries.
flatly rejected the prospect of talks with the Jewish state.
is not prepared to conduct dialogue with Israel – that is our
Our position is consistent and clear, and is not up for
discussion,” he said.
“It is illogical to open dialogue, any dialogue,
given the current Israeli policies against the Arab peoples,” he said. “We will
reject any request from the Israeli embassy to meet with leaders of the
Earlier this month the deputy leader of the Brotherhood’s Freedom
and Justice Party (FJP) said it would not recognize Israel “under any
“This is not an option, whatever the circumstances – we
do not recognize Israel at all. It’s an occupying criminal enemy,” Rashad
Bayoumi told London’s Al-Hayat daily, adding, “I will not allow myself to sit
down with criminals.”
“The Brotherhood respects international
conventions, but we will take legal action against the peace treaty with the
Zionist entity,” Bayoumi said without elaborating.
FJP officials have
suggested putting the peace agreement to a popular referendum, which analysts
say would allow the largely unpopular treaty to be overturned without the
Brotherhood having to pay the diplomatic price for its annulment.
possibility, reported by The New York Times this week, is that the Brotherhood
and Egypt’s ruling military council intend to divvy up the spoils of
post-revolutionary governance. That arrangement would have the Islamist group
taking most important domestic posts, while foreign policy – including relations
with Israel – would remain in the army’s hands.
The Brotherhood has been
the biggest winner in Egypt’s just-completed parliamentary elections, taking 47
percent of seats while even harder-line Salafi parties came in second at 24
A Gallup Poll released Tuesday showed many Egyptians were
undecided over which party to vote for until the weeks and months running up to
Support for the Brotherhood spiked from 15 percent in July
2011 to 50% in December, while figures for Salafi parties rose from 5% to 31%in
the same period.
In September of that year, 31% of respondents said they
were undecided about the Brotherhood, and 36% about the Salafis. Once voting
began two months later, those figures had dropped to 9% and 11%
Nonetheless, the issues Egyptian voters cited as most
important were overwhelmingly non-religious – jobs, cost of living and personal
“Large numbers of previously undecided Egyptians decided to
vote for Islamist political parties, even though the most important problems
that Egyptians cited did not involve the implementation of Islamic law or other
political demands of the Muslim Brotherhood or Salafi groups,” the polling group
said in revealing its findings.
“That pragmatism indicates that the
country’s next elections could be equally surprising – if Egyptians believe that
other political forces can address their problems more effectively, it is likely
many of them will not refrain from switching their votes from one party to