Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood will not recognize Israel under any circumstances and might put the peace treaty with the Jewish state up to a referendum, the movement's second in command told the Al-Hayat newspaper in an interview that was published Sunday.
The announcement comes days before the final round in the first parliamentary elections in post-uprising Egypt. The Islamist movement has emerged as the biggest winner in polls, capturing nearly half of the seats so far.
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The Muslim Brotherhood "did not sign the peace accords," Rashad al-Bayoumi told the London-based newspaper. "We are allowed to ask the people or the elected parliament to express their opinion on the treaty, and (to find out) whether it compromised the people's freedom and sovereignty.
"We will take the proper legal steps in dealing with the peace deal," he added. "To me, it isn't binding at all. The people will express their opinion on the matter."
While the Brotherhood intends to temporarily honor Egypt's international pacts, al-Bayoumi told noted, "each side has the right to reexamine the treaty."
'Israel is enemy entity'
He stressed that under no circumstances will the Brotherhood recognize the State of Israel.
"Is rising to power conditional on recognizing Israel?" al-Bayoumi wondered. "That's out of the question, no matter what the situation is. On no condition will we recognize Israel. It is an enemy entity, an exploiting, criminal occupier."
According to al-Bayoumi, no member of the Muslim Brotherhood will ever meet with Israelis.
"I won't allow myself to sit down with a criminal," he said. "We won't cooperate with Israel in any situation."
The final stage in the elections is scheduled to take place on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Egyptian Salafi movement's Al-Nour party, which is currently placed second in the parliamentary elections, said recently that it intends to maintain the peace with Israel, but stressed that it will make efforts to amend the treaty's "exploitative clauses" using all legitimate means.
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