Senior Muslim Brotherhood member denies remarks on Israel

Senior Muslim Brotherhood member denies remarks on Israel

A senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) Essan el-Erien said Friday his group ’did not and would not recognize’, Israel contrary to his earlier comments carried by the al-Hayat newspaper.

El-Eerien told the independent al-Dostour newspaper that al-Hayat had ’cut remarks short,’ which altered the meaning.

Al-Hayat had quoted him as saying: ’If the movement reigned Egypt, it would recognize Israel and respect all (signed) treaties.’

However, el-Erien said he had told al-Hayat: ’If any government reigns Egypt, it will find itself obligated to recognize Israel conforming with the international treaties.’

Yet ’The government has the right to modify these agreements based on the mechanisms the constitution allows and after holding a public referendum.’

Al-Hayat also quoted el-Erien as saying that the 1979 Camp David Accords, which established ties between Egypt and Israel, would be revised and modified based on the constitution and ’in accordance with Egypt’s interests.’

On Thursday, al-Hayat published an interview with MB leader Mahdi Akef, who insisted that his group would not recognize Israel.

He dismissed Israel as ’Zionist gangs that occupied an Arab land after it had kicked out its residents.’

If Israelis wished to live among Arabs, that should be ’inside the Palestinian frame,’ and if they wanted ’a state’, they would face ’resistance,’ he added.

Akef’s comments came in response to a query by al-Hayat about the possibility of MB recognizing Israel following el-Erien’s remarks.

The legally banned MB is the strongest Islamist group in Egypt and has a nationwide network. Eighty-eight members of Egypt’s lower house of parliament are loyal to this group.

Egypt has been cracking down on the Islamist group’s ranks for several months on charges of membership of an illegal religious group, money laundering and distributing flyers with religious slogans.

The movement has always sought to form a political party, but Egypt does not allow parties to be founded on religious basis.