Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

An Islamist talking to an Israeli! | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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It is not important that an Egyptian Salafist Islamist spoke to Israeli Army radio, rather what is important is what he said, and the consequences of his statements, whether in Egypt, Israel, or the region as a whole. This is because the Islamists, of all trends, are the champions of the “takfirist” doctrine, and using this against all those that talk about peace or negotiations [with Israel].

Unfortunately, the bulk of the debate is focusing on whether the Egyptian [Salafist] Al-Nour party spokesman, Yousseri Hamad, was deceived by the Israeli Army radio reporter or not. However this debate is immaterial, for the story is much bigger than this. One might ask, how? The crux of the matter is that during his defense of Hamad, al-Nour party spokesman Nader Bakkar announced that everything that has been said regarding his [Hamad’s] statements to Israeli Army radio has been full of mistakes and errors. However the al-Nour party itself later came out to issue a statement reiterating what Hamad told the Israeli radio station. Al-Nour party spokesman Yousseri Hamad had told the Israeli Army radio reporter that “we are not opposed to the peace treaty [with Israel], and we are saying that we are committed to the agreements that previous Egyptian government have signed” adding “if there are articles that need to be changed [in the Egypt – Israel peace treaty], the place for this is the negotiation table.”

He added “Egypt is committed to and respects all the agreements signed by previous governments with any country, including the [peace] treaty with the state of Israel.” Yousseri Hamad also said that he welcomes all tourists that come to Egypt, including Israeli tourists. Israeli Army radio also said that Hamad expressed his satisfaction at conducting an interview with an Israeli media outlet, saying “it is a necessity to send a reassuring message to Tel Aviv.”

Therefore, if the Salafist Islamist party – and the Muslim Brotherhood – acknowledge the Camp David Accords, and believe in negotiating with Israel – along with the Muslim Brotherhood affiliated Hamas movement – then why has our region been so preoccupied with this phenomenon of accusing others of being agents for foreign powers or the west, not to mention treason and takfirism? Why have decades, of our life and the life of the region, been wasted on wars and battles, when these groups actually respect peace treaties and negotiations? Is all of this simply the allure of power? Why did they preoccupy us, for decades, with rumors, takfirism, accusations of treason and espionage, not to mention incitement and rallying, against all those who called for peace? Why did they promote the axis of deception, this axis of resistance, which only ever kills its own people, as can be seen today in Syria, or incites sectarianism in our region, like Hezbollah? Indeed, what is the difference between the Muslim Brotherhood or the Salafists and the Mubarak regime, or the Sadat regime, so long as they all accept the Camp David Accord, the principle of negotiations, and even Israeli tourists, whilst also wanting to reassure Tel Aviv?

One might say: give them a chance, don’t criticize them, let them exercise moderation [in this regard], however the issue is more dangerous than this, for who will revise their ideology which is plagued with sickness and which will require decades to fix? Who will revise our books, culture, and before all this, the intellects of all those who traded in [political] slogans? These are questions that must be asked and discussed in our media, and particularly the hypocritical [state] media, which is akin to a restful oasis for every militant or extremist.