Egypt’s Presidential Candidates Reject Return of Muslim Brotherhood

An election banner for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in Cairo (EPA)
An election banner for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in Cairo (EPA)
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Egypt’s Presidential Candidates Reject Return of Muslim Brotherhood

An election banner for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in Cairo (EPA)
An election banner for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in Cairo (EPA)

Days before the start of Egypt’s presidential elections, statements by the four candidates reflected identical positions summed up in their refusal to the return of the “banned” Muslim brotherhood group to political life.
The elections will be held inside Egypt next Sunday and for three days, while Egyptians abroad cast their ballot about a week ago.
Three candidates are running for the presidential race along with President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, who is seeking a third term that will last until 2030.
The candidates include Farid Zahran, head of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, Abdel-Sanad Yamama, president of the Wafd Party, and Hazem Omar, head of the Republican People’s Party.
The future of the Muslim Brotherhood raises widespread controversy in Egypt. Authorities have classified it as a “terrorist organization” following the ousting of former President Mohamed Morsi, who belonged to the group, in 2013.
In August 2014, the Supreme Administrative Court in Egypt ruled to dissolve the Freedom and Justice Party, the political arm of the organization.
Advisor Mahmoud Fawzi, head of Sisi’s electoral campaign, said there was no return to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt’s political scene.
In a televised interview, he noted that talks about the return of the Brotherhood had popular, political and legal dimensions.
“In the popular dimension, we all see that the Egyptians expressed their view of the Brotherhood in the revolution of June 30, 2013, and therefore the people’s opinion is clear”, Fawzi stated.
Regarding the political dimension, he said: “Anyone, whose hands are stained with the blood of Egyptians, is not welcome,” stressing that the legal dimension was clear, as the Brotherhood is classified as a terrorist group.
The other three candidates have expressed similar positions.
In a televised interview, Zahran affirmed that he would reject any role for the Brotherhood in political life if he gets elected as president.
Yamama, for his part, noted that there would be no reconciliation with the “terrorist group”, pointing to the need to “fight the Brotherhood’s ideology with democracy.”
The same stance was confirmed by Omar, who ruled out any rapprochement with the Brotherhood,” adding that the group “gambled with the future of the Egyptian people.”



UN Human Rights Chief: Unconscionable Death and Suffering Happening in Gaza

A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)
A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)
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UN Human Rights Chief: Unconscionable Death and Suffering Happening in Gaza

A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)
A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)

Palestinians in the Israeli occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem are suffering a drastically worsening human rights environment, alongside "unconscionable death and suffering" in the Gaza Strip, the UN human rights chief said on Tuesday.

"The situation in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is dramatically deteriorating," Volker Turk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, told the opening session of the UN Human Rights Council.

The West Bank, where the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority exercises limited self-rule under Israeli occupation, has seen the worst unrest for decades, in parallel with the war in the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by Hamas.

Turk said that from the start of the Gaza war in October through mid-June, 528 Palestinians, 133 of them children, had been killed by Israeli security forces or settlers in the West Bank, in some cases raising "serious concerns of unlawful killings".

Twenty-three Israelis have been killed in the West Bank and Israel in clashes with or attacks by Palestinians, he said.

In Gaza, Turk said he was "appalled by the disregard for international human rights and humanitarian law" by parties to the war.

"Israel's relentless strikes in Gaza are causing immense suffering and widespread destruction, and the arbitrary denial and obstruction of humanitarian aid have continued," Turk said.

"Israel continues to detain arbitrarily thousands of Palestinians. This must not continue."

He added that Palestinian armed groups were continuing to hold hostages, including in populated areas, which put both the hostages and civilians at risk.

Israel's permanent mission to the UN in Geneva accused Turk of "completely omitting the cruelty and barbarity of terrorism" in his address to the UN Human Rights Council.

"Hostilities in Gaza are the direct result of Hamas terrorism, decades of rocket-fire and incitement against the Jewish people and the State of Israel, culminating in its brutal attacks against Israel on October 7," the diplomatic mission said in a statement.

Israel's ground and air campaign was triggered when Hamas-led fighters stormed into southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and seizing more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

Israel's offensive has killed more than 37,400 people in Gaza, according to its health authorities, and left much of the enclave's population homeless.