Avi Dichter at Herzliya conference 150.
(photo credit: Screenshot)
Home Front Defense Minister Avi Dichter on Sunday warned that the Muslim Brotherhood is co-opting the Arab Spring with the end-goal of creating an Islamic "caliphate" that would span the Middle East.
"What started in Tunis and continued in Egypt is ongoing in Syria, and will threaten Jordan and other Arab countries," Dichter said. "The Brotherhood already has an outpost in the Palestinian territories, in the form of Hamas."
The keynote speaker at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism's World Summit, Dichter added that the beyond infiltrating Israel's neighbors, the Brotherhood's more long-term goal is to gain control of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, where "there is already a massive movement of youth devoted to eradicating non-Muslim values from society," according to Dichter.
Turning to Syria, Dichter said that so long as President Bashar Assad remains in power, the Brotherhood can not achieve its aims. "In Syria, being affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood is tantamount to a death sentence," he said. However, Dichter warned that if the embattled Syrian leader were to fall, the Brotherhood could in fact take control of the country, which would have deep repercussions on Syria's neighbors.
"Who replace the Assad regime?" Dichter asked. "Will it be the Sunnis? Or the Muslim Brotherhood? And if the Brotherhood takes control, how will this affect Jordan and Lebanon to the west?"
Dichter added that these questions were not abstract, and that Assad's fall was a foregone conclusion. "The question is not whether or not Assad will fall, but rather when, and what will the country look like the day after," he said.
Dichter also addressed the Palestinian involvement in the Arab Spring. "The Palestinian case is special," he said. Recalling an anecdote told to him by an unnamed Arab, Dichter hinted that the Palestinian community is often disconnected from the rest of the Arab world. "There are three types of Arabs: Muslim Arabs, Christian Arabs, and Jewish Arabs. The Palestinians are the Jewish Arabs."
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Dichter added: "The Palestinians have not yet managed to enjoy the Arab Spring."
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