CHALLAH @ The Times of Israel
A senior Egyptian official who also serves as an adviser to President Mohammed Morsi on Tuesday expressed the opinion that Israel would not be around in 10 years. The remark by Essam al-Erian, the deputy head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, was an attempt to explain a previous statement to the effect that Jews who once lived in Egypt should return to their home country and leave Israel to the Palestinians.
“There are people in Palestine who occupied it, and those occupiers have prior homelands,” Erian wrote on his Facebook page. The quotes were cited by the London-based pan-Arab daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat.
Israel, he claimed would cease to exist within the next decade. “There won’t be a thing called Israel anymore; only Palestine, and it’ll contain Jews, Muslims, Christians and Druze, and all of the people who lived there to begin with,” he said.
“Anyone who wants to stay will stay as a Palestinian citizen.” Thus, he explained, “all of those who occupied it” — including Jewish former residents of Egypt – “will have to return to their homelands.”
The Washington Institute has a short biography on Erian.
Erian was a founding member of Islamic Student Action at Cairo University, as well as student union leader during the early 1970s. He was elected president of the General Union of Students of Egyptian University and also served as secretary of the cultural committee in the medical students’ union in Cairo (1972–1977). In 1981, he was arrested alongside several other members of Egypt’s Islamist groups, tried in a military court, and released a year later. In 1986, he was elected to the board of directors of the Egyptian doctors’ syndicate. In 1987, he was elected to the People’s Assembly, becoming the youngest parliamentarian in modern Egyptian history. In 1995, he was imprisoned along with many others for his membership in the Muslim Brotherhood. He was also jailed in 2005 after he hinted that he might run for president, in 2006 for his participation in protests, in 2007 for his leadership role in the Brotherhood, and in January 2011 at the height of the anti-Mubarak revolt. Following Mubarak’s ouster, Erian played a leading role in establishing the Freedom and Justice Party and was named its vice chairman. In the 2011 parliamentary elections, he won a seat in the People’s Assembly and was named chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. He speaks fluent English and often addresses the U.S. media.