Gaza Conflict Tests Egypt
by IPT News • Nov 15, 2012 at 5:51 pm
Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood is insisting that President Mohamed Morsi "sever diplomatic and trade relations with this usurper entity" (Israel) over the recent violence in Gaza in order for Egypt to emerge as "a role model for Arabs and Muslims who keep relations with this entity."
Morsi is struggling to balance the more pragmatic approach espoused by the country's security and diplomatic circles – who emphasize the importance of maintaining stability – with the inherently confrontational stance endorsed by the Brotherhood regarding "this usurper entity." The fact that Morsi refuses to even mention the word "Israel" publicly illustrates the hostile attitudes toward the Jewish state prevalent in the upper echelons of the new Egypt. Recently, Morsi answered "amen" to an imam calling for the Jews' annihilation and the Brotherhood's Supreme Guide called for a "holy Jihad" for Jerusalem.
On Tuesday, the Brotherhood's political party announced plans to initiate new legislation to unilaterally amend the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty. This has tremendous implications with respect to the future of the vital security relationship, constituting a major cornerstone of Middle East stability.
The Investigative Project on Terrorism has translated various signs and chants espoused at Brotherhood-organized protests in Cairo Thursday featuring many incendiary statements such as: "O villainous Zionist…Muslim blood is not cheap;" "Unto Jerusalem we go ... martyrs in their millions;" "Jerusalem is faith, not an issue, the issue is an Islamic Palestine;" and "O our Aqsa (mosque), do not worry, we shall redeem you with life and blood." One young protestor is photographed holding a sign that reads: "No to the Entity. The Cancer."
Each new rally includes additional calls for Israel's destruction. The chant "Khaybar, Khaybar, O Jews, the army of Muhammad is right here" is heard frequently or written on posters including here and here. It invokes a 7th Century victory by Muhammad's army over the Jews.Islamist cleric and Brotherhood spiritual leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi is scheduled to lead Friday prayers at Cairo's Al-Azhar University for the first time. The Brotherhood is also planning mass anti-Israel protests on Friday.
With Egypt re-calling its ambassador to Israel in response to the operations in Gaza, it remains to be seen to what extent Morsi will exploit this crisis to further the Brotherhood's vehemently anti-Israel agenda.