Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood will not recognize Israel “under any circumstance,” the party’s deputy leader Dr. Rashad Bayoumi told Arabic daily al-Hayat in an interview published on Sunday.

In recent Egyptian elections the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) won 36.3 percent of the list vote, while the ultra-conservative Salafi al-Nour Party took 28.8%.

When asked whether it is a requirement for the government in Egypt to recognize Israel, Bayoumi responded by saying: “This is not an option, whatever the circumstances, we do not recognize Israel at all. It’s an occupying criminal enemy.”

The deputy leader stressed during the interview that no Muslim Brotherhood members would ever meet with Israelis for negotiations.“I will not allow myself to sit down with criminals.”

Bayoumi went on to say that the Muslim Brotherhood would take legal procedures towards canceling the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel that was signed in 1979.

“The Brotherhood respects international conventions, but we will take legal action against the peace treaty with the Zionist entity,” he told the paper.

At the beginning of December, Egypt’s two leading Islamist parties won about two-thirds of votes for party lists in the second round of polling for a parliament that will help draft a new constitution after decades of autocratic rule.

The vote, staged over six weeks, is the first free election Egypt has held after the 30-year rule of president Hosni Mubarak, who routinely rigged polls before he was overthrown by a popular uprising in February.

The West long looked to Mubarak and other strongmen in the region to help combat Islamist militants, and has watched warily as Islamist parties have topped votes in Tunisia, Morocco and now Egypt.

The Egyptian Parliament’s prime job will be appointing a 100-man assembly to write a new constitution which will define the president’s powers and parliament’s clout in the new Egypt.

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