Last updated on: 5/19/2008 10:39:00 AM PST

How Has the Muslim Brotherhood Been Involved in the Israeli - Palestinian Conflict?

General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
Dilip Hiro, MA, author and journalist, in his 2003 book The Essential Middle East / A Comprehensive Guide, wrote:

"During his visits to Palestine between 1942 and 1945, Hassan al-Banna [founder] set up Muslim Brotherhood branches in many towns. After the 1948-1949 Palestine War, the Gaza Strip came under Egyptian authority and the West Bank was annexed by Jordan. With this the fate of the Brotherhood in Gaza became intertwined with its Egyptian counterpart, and that of the Brotherhood in the West Bank with its Jordanian counterpart.

After the June 1967 Arab-Israeli War, Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza. In order to weaken the Palestine Liberation Organization in the Occupied Territories, in 1973 Israel issued a license to Shaikh Ahmad Yassin, the Brotherhood leader in the Occupied Territories, to set up the Islamic Center as a charity to run social, religious, and welfare institutions. It encouraged the growth of Islamic Center / Muslim Brotherhood -- funded chiefly by contributions from private and official sources in the Gulf states -- as a counter point to the secular PLO to the extent of providing funds covertly to the mosques in the Occupied Territories, especially the Gaza Strip, considered sympathetic to it. But following the dramatic rise of Hizbollah in Lebanon, the Israeli government had second thoughts. It arrested Yassin in 1983 for illegal possession of arms and sentenced him to a long prison term. However, he was released two years later as part of a prison exchange deal between Israel and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command.

Yassin built on the popularity he had gained as a political convict of Israel and rapidly increased the membership of the Islamic Center/Muslim Brotherhood. With eruption of the intifada in December 1987, Yassin and six other leaders of the Brotherhood decided to join the mass movement against the Israeli occupiers. The result was the founding of Hamas as the activist arm of the [Muslim] Brotherhood."

2003 - Dilip Hiro, MA 

Ian J. Bickerton, PhD, Professor of Middle Eastern History at the University of New South Wales, and Carla L. Klausner, PhD, Professor of the Modern Middle East at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, in their 2002 book A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, wrote:

"In order to compete with Islamic Jihad, Sheikh Yassin altered the strategy of the Muslim Brotherhood. Instead of insisting on a Pan-Islamic state as a prerequisite for waging holy war against Israel, he formulated the concept that an Islamic state in Palestine could wage holy war against Israel as the first stage toward the final goal of a Pan-Islamic state. Hamas wedded its salvationist platform to the national struggle and rejected as un-Islamic any dealings with Israel and with Jews... As time passed, its (Hamas) path would diverge even more from that of the PLO."

2002 - Carla L. Klausner, PhD 
Ian J. Bickerton, PhD 

Mohamed Mahdi Akef, Muslim Brotherhood Chairman, in an Apr. 23, 2006 message accessed on the Muslim Brotherhood's official website, titled "Akef Urges Muslim And Christian Nations to Help Palestinians," offered the following:

"It is disgusting to see the same western governments that always called for democracy, engaging in an unjust and shameful campaign to suffocate a nation of three million only [Palestine] because they exercised their right and followed the same democratic principles to choose a sovereign government [Hamas], which is not blessed by the West, in an attempt to force it to collapse.

...It is our religious and humanitarian duty to help the Palestinian people. This is a matter of national security for the whole Arab nation. Therefore, I am calling upon all Arab governments to rise against the evil desires of these western governments which are stripped of all meanings of mercy and humanity, and not to give in to their satanic pressure, but instead, listen to your own people and stand up for your dignity so God can be pleased with you.

...The major responsibility still lies on the shoulder of the people themselves; donating money is the least you can do. I call upon the rich amongst you to spend some of what God bestowed upon them... Even the middle class and poor families can help by donating part of the money they spend to feed their children- even if it is worth a piece of bread, to protect our brethren in Palestine from hunger and avoid them the humiliation of asking for help from the unjust. Support them in their struggle to liberate the holy lands of both Christians and Muslims... May Allah reward you for your good deeds."

Apr. 23, 2006 - Mohamed Mahdi Akef