Sadat and Begin
Sadat and BeginIsrael news photo: Gefen Publishing

The Muslim Brotherhood comes up with a neat trick to break the peace treaty with Israel without formally doing so. Egypt’s next likely ruling party says it simply will hold a plebiscite and let the people do it.

Rashad Bayoumi, deputy Supreme Leader of the Brotherhood, told the London-based newspaper Al-Hayat on Sunday it respects international treaties and will leave the issue of the peace treaty in the hands of the people. The pact was signed by then-Egyptian president Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, but a "cold peace" has set in over the past several years.

“People will express their opinions on it. All parties can reconsider the treaty and Egyptians haven't yet had their say,” he explained. “We won't violate the treaty. We can put it for referendum among people or parliament,” Bayoumi said.

The ploy would ostensibly take the onus off the radical Muslim party, which Jeffrey Feltman, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, has said will respect the treaty.

However, Bayoumi’s statements to Al Hayat made it clear that the Brotherhood has no intention of recognizing Israel. “I’ll never allow myself to sit down with a criminal. We will not deal with Israelis by any means,” he said.

The Muslim Brotherhood won approximately 40 percent in the first rounds of voting for the next Egyptian legislature, giving it a plurality. The next popular party is the even more radical Salafi al-Nour party, which won nearly 30 percent of the vote.