The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Yediot gaffe on MB(?)

Update: See comments, there is some confusion as to which MPs people are referring to here.
Update 2: Haaretz picks up an AP story that has the same confusion about the names.

The Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot's website,, had a piece today accusing two NDP members of calling for the development of a nuclear bomb as a deterrent against, or to get rid of, Israel. But the people they quote, I believe, are both members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Mohammed al-Katatny, in fact, is the head of the MB's parliamentary bloc. Amer I am not so sure about -- there is a Mohammed Amer among the MB MPs, but it's a common enough name. Khalifa is not MB.
"That cursed Israel is trying to destroy al-Aqsa mosque...Nothing will work with Israel except for a nuclear bomb that wipes it out of existence." Mohamed el-Katatny of President Hosni Mubarak's National Democratic Party (NDP) told the Egyptian Parliament.

During the special parliamentary meeting, which was convened to discuss controversial renovations near the Mugrabi Gate in East Jerusalem, other members of el-Katatny's party called to revoke Egypt's 1979 peace treaty with Israel.

"The war with Israel is still ongoing whether we like it or not," NDP legislator Khalifa Radwan said.

Mohamed Amer, another ruling party member, said: "What this (Israeli) gang is doing makes me demand that we trample over all the agreements we signed."

The parliament has little say in national security issues or foreign policy, ultimately dictated by Mubarak who has rejected similar calls in the past.
That gaffe aside, of course such comments don't necessarily mean that much. Israeli ministers have threatened to nuke the Aswan Dam in the past. But -- if these quotes are accurate, and I won't assume they necessarily are -- should the MB pursue a more careful line between nationalist sentiment and having a discourse that is acceptable to the international community? Like on most important issues, the MB is ambiguous about its attitude towards Israel. On the one hand it has said that, if it were governing Egypt, it would not violate the terms of Camp David. On the other, when there such crises as what's happening at al-Aqsa right now (the millionth evidence that Israelis are provocateurs with zero interest in peace), it's only normal that they push for a correction in Egyptian foreign policy that could include, eventually, dropping Camp David and pursuing a nuclear deterrent. But Katatni's call to wipe Israel off the map isn't exactly, as they say in Washington, helpful -- for Egypt or for the MB.