Muslim Brotherhood threatens to review treaty with Israel if U.S. aid is cut

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Muslim Brotherhood has threatened to "review" Egypt’s 1979 peace treaty with Israel if the United States cuts aid to Egypt.

Congress threatened to cut or cancel aid to Egypt after Egyptian authorities filed charges on Feb. 6 against 43 American and other foreign pro-democracy activists who worked in the country.

"The aid was one of the commitments of the parties that signed the peace agreement so if there is a breach from one side it gives the right of review to the parties," Essam el-Erian, a senior Brotherhood leader, told Reuters in a telephone interview published Thursday.

Mohamed Mursi, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood-sponsored Freedom and Justice Party, said in a statement that the peace agreement "could stumble" over U.S. talk of halting the aid.

Egypt elected a new parliament last month with the Freedom and Justice Party emerging as the dominant force., The country is in the midst of a planned democratic transition from the current military stewardship.

The United States provides roughly $1.5 billion in foreign assistance to the Egyptian government. Congress passed the foreign assistance for Egypt at the end of 2011 with several restrictions in place that could allow for the aid’s suspension if Egypt was not taking particular steps to ensure democracy in the country.

The assistance dates from Egypt’s 1979 peace accord with Israel and is conditional on its observance.

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