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Israel to negotiate with al-Qaradawi? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The above title is not meant to arouse excitement, nor is this a joke currently doing the rounds, but rather this is a proposal put forward by former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy, who has called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to open a dialogue with Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi. Halevy proposed this after al-Qaradawi gave his most recent Friday sermon in Cairo, and perhaps even after al-Qaradawi issued a fatwa calling on the people of Libya to kill Colonel Gaddafi.

It seems that the Israelis believe that al-Qaradawi has become a decision-maker in Egypt and the Arab world, believing that he has become the Supreme Guide of the [Sunni] Islamic world. This plays down or indeed ignores the reality of the situation, and the Muslim Brotherhood long ago clarified their position with regards to dealing with Israel, and they only use Israel to mobilize the Arab street, or blackmail Arab regimes, including the former Egyptian regime. Therefore, how can we explain the Muslim Brotherhood’s statements following the ousting of the Hosni Mubarak regime? Commenting on the Camp David Agreement, one Muslim Brotherhood group member stated that there is no disagreement, or criticism of the peace agreement between Egypt and Israel [on the part of the Muslim Brotherhood]. This agreement has been signed and so it is binding. This was the public position of the Muslim Brotherhood after Mubarak stepped down, and this of course, is nothing more than political hypocrisy.

If the Israelis believe that Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi’s sermon last Friday in Egypt was evidence of his influence and popularity then they are mistakenly reading the situation in the country, for he is merely jumping on the bandwagon, and this is something that many components of Egyptian society are aware of. Whereas if the former Mossad chief’s call for dialogue with Sheikh al-Qaradawi is based upon the Sheikh’s fatwa calling for the death of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, then this is also impulsive, for what positions has al-Qaradawi taken against Gaddafi over the past decade? For Gaddafi has been a friend of Sheikh al-Qaradawi, and indeed the Al Jazeera television channel, over the years. Through a simple search of the YouTube video-sharing website, one will find that the Qatari Al Jazeera television channel is the Arab television channel which most broadcasts Gaddafi’s speeches and interviews. This is something that Al Jazeera has done for a long period of time; granting Gaddafi air-time to attack whoever he wants, and say whatever he likes. Where was Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi during this period, especially as Colonel Gaddafi is not a new member of the dictator’s club, but has ruled Libya for 42 years?

Of course, what has happened in the past does not mean that we reject the issue of Israel opening dialogue with Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, for first and foremost this is up to him, and he is in the best position to decide this for himself. Rather, what is meant by this article is to clarify the situation for the readers, for it seems that the disciples of the Muslim Brotherhood and the students of Sheikh al-Qaradawi, have become bolder these days, especially after what happened in Egypt, and following the fatwa of their Sheikh calling for the assassination of Gaddafi. They consider this [the assassination of Gaddafi] to be a moral act, as if the law imposed upon the Arab world is a life for a life, and a crime for a crime! It is as there are no courts where the accused can be brought to justice, whether we are talking about ordinary people or leaders. We have never heard of cases being brought to court giving people permission to kill somebody, this is a completely new and unprecedented issue!

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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