Analysis: Muslim Brotherhood mixes pragmatism, ideology on Israel

Protesters burning the Israeli flag in front of Israel's embassy in Cairo. May 2011

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is on a slippery slope as they will try to maneuver between the anti-Israel foundation of the organization and the political realities of gouverning modern day Egypt. “The Brotherhood is in a real challenge and real crisis. For the first time, they are in power, which forces them to be rational when it comes to foreign policy because any miscalculations might blow their gains,” said Khalil al-Anani, an Egyptian expert on Islamic movements. Top officials of the MB have assured senator John Kerry and other U.S. officials visiting Egypt that they will keep the peace treaty with Israel but they have not left out the possibility to amend some of it’s provisions, particularly concerning army presence in the Sinai Peninsula. As for the recognition of the state of Israel, officials say the MB stance on that issue has not changed and most likely never will, considering their deeply rooted anti-Israel ideology. The brotherhood is believed to be seeking to strengthen the ties with Hamas after a visit by Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. Analysts believe that the MB is likely to follow policies similar to Mubarak’s. “They know that Egypt is not Gaza and any ruling party must respect treaties inherited from previous government because they can’t risk deterioration of relations with America or even Israel,” said Emad Gad, an Egyptian specialist on Israel studies.

Al Masry Al Youm, Egypt

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