LONDON, Jan. 1 (UPI) -- A leader of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood vowed to break relations with Israel and possibly void the longstanding peace treaty between the two nations.
Rashad Bayoumi, the deputy supreme leader of the increasingly influential party, told the London Arabic-language newspaper al-Hayat that there was no love lost between the Brotherhood and its Jewish neighbors.
"I will never allow myself to sit down with a criminal," Bayoumi declared. "We will not deal with Israelis by any means."
Arutz Sheva -Channel 7 in Israel noted the Muslim Brotherhood's political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, won a plurality in the next Egyptian Legislature. The rise of a ostensibly hard-line Muslim ruling party has raised concerns that the relatively peaceful relationship between Egypt and Israel could deteriorate.
Although Bayoumi said the peace pact signed by the two nations in the 1970s would not be scrapped unilaterally, he did want to see the Egyptian people vote on a proposal to void the treaty. "Egyptians haven't yet had their say," he said, "We won't violate the treaty. We can put it for referendum among people or Parliament."