official and advisor to the Egyptian
president, Essam al-Aryan has spent the past few days trying to explain what he meant when he called on Jews to return to Egypt.
The London-based newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat reported Tuesday that al-Aryan estimated that the State of Israel
will be wiped out within a decade.
The Muslim Brotherhood official, who also serves as the Freedom and Justice Party's deputy chairman, explained on his Facebook account that Jews must return to Egypt in order to make room for Palestinian refugees.
"Palestine houses people who conquered it and those occupiers have previous homelands," he wrote.
He added that Israel is destined to collapse. "There will be no such thing as Israel, instead there will be Palestine which will be home to Jews, Muslims and Druze
and all of the people who were there from the start.
Muslim Brotherhood supporters in Cairo (Reuters)
"Those who want to stay will stay as Palestinian citizens. Those who conquered Palestine will have to go back to their countries."
Egypt's presidential palace is trying to distance itself from al-Aryan's statements. A palace source told al-Sharq al-Awsat that al-Aryan does not represent the presidency's stance and is not an official presidential spokesman.
On Thursday, al-Aryan said that the return of Egyptian Jews to Israel will enable Palestinians to return to their homeland. "Every Egyptian has a right to return especially if he is making room for a Palestinian. I want to enable the Palestinians to return to their land," he said. "I call upon the Jews, Egypt is worthier of you than Israel."
The statements set off a firestorm of controversy and prompted criticism by parties across Egypt's political spectrum. Muslim Brotherhood spokesperson Mahmoud Ghozlan said the statements do not represent the movement's stance. "Egyptian Jews are criminals who must be punished for what they did to Egypt and the Palestinians," he said.
In his interview with al-Sharq al-Awsat, al-Aryan also commented on a clause in the new constitution allowing Christians and Jews freedom of religion. "We have a Jewish minority and when the Palestinian issue is resolved they will have the option of returning to Egypt or going to other places."