Egypt Updates: January 31, 2011

Mubarak shuffles cabinet, Israelis upset

Hosni Mubarak shuffled his cabinet around today, which placated absolutely no one. But the Egyptian military has so far pledged not to fire on peaceful protesters and seems to be signaling that Mubarak can’t necessarily count on them for a crackdown.

Meanwhile, many Israeli political commentators have harsh words for President Obama’s support for the Egyptian demonstrators, expressing surprise that the US seems ready to dump a 30-year ally, and unease at the prospect of an Egyptian government more openly aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood.

It’s not hard to see why this concerns Israel; here’s a recent interview with Khaled Hamza, editor of the Muslim Brotherhood’s official website, considered a voice of “moderation” within the party:

What about relations with Israel?  What would the Brotherhood do regarding the situation between Israel and Palestine?

We think Israel is an occupation force and is not fair to the Palestinians. We do not believe in negotiation with Israel. As the Muslim Brotherhood, we must resist all this. They are an occupation force and we must resist this. Did you see what they do in Gaza, on the flotilla? Israel is a very dangerous force and we must resist.  Resistance is the only way, negotiation is not useful at all.

So would the Muslim Brotherhood, if in a position of government, help groups like Hamas?

Yes, sure.

Do you recognize Israel as a state?

No.

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