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Egypt’s Brotherhood Party Criticizes Cleric’s Jerusalem Visit

The Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm criticized a visit to Jerusalem by a top Egyptian cleric, Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa.

“It is not acceptable for such a visit to take place after the revolution, when both official and popular positions reject having any relations with the Israeli entity as long as occupation, settlements and the siege of Gaza continue,” the Freedom and Justice Party, which dominates Egypt’s first elected parliament since the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, said in a statement.

Gomaa’s visit with a Jordanian delegation yesterday was unofficial and he didn’t receive an entry visa from Israel, Egypt’s state-run Middle East News Agency said yesterday, citing Ibrahim Negm, the mufti’s media adviser. The trip was made in solidarity with the Palestinians and to show that Israel can’t stop Arabs and Muslims from going to the city’s Al-Aqsa mosque, it cited Negm as saying.

While Egypt and Israel signed a peace treaty in 1979, some Egyptians oppose having normal ties with Israel, including cultural and business dealings. A survey published last year by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project found that 54 percent of 1,000 Egyptians surveyed want the government to end the treaty.

Israel annexed east Jerusalem, a territory captured in the 1967 war, in a move that was never internationally recognized. Palestinians see the area as the capital of a future state.

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