Just two weeks after Senator Ted Cruz and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart dropped bills in the U.S. Senate and House calling for the Obama administration to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, Israel announced today that it was banning the branch of the organization from operating in their country for inciting violence and trying to replace Israel with a caliphate.
This also follows recent action taken by other U.S. allies in the Middle East to designate the Muslim Brotherhood, including the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
A statement posted on the website of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs explains:
For years, the northern branch of the Islamic Movement has led a mendacious campaign of incitement under the heading ‘Al Aqsa is in danger’ that falsely accuses Israel of intending to harm the Al Aqsa Mosque and violate the status-quo. In this context, the northern branch has established a network of paid activists (Mourabitoun/Mourabitat) in order to initiate provocations on the Temple Mount. This activity has led to a significant increase in tension on the Temple Mount. A significant portion of recent terrorist attacks have been committed against the background of this incitement and propaganda.
Outlawing the organization is a vital step in maintaining public security and preventing harm to human life.
The northern branch, headed by Sheikh Raad Salah, is a sister movement of the Hamas terrorist organization. The two movements maintain a close and secretive cooperation. The northern branch of the Islamic Movement is a separatist-racist organization that does not recognize the institutions of the State of Israel, denies its right to exist and calls for the establishment of an Islamic caliphate in its place. The northern branch of the Islamic Movement belongs to radical Islam and is part of the global ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ movement. The two movements share an extremist ideology and a common goal – the destruction of the State of Israel.
According to Israeli press reports, the ban resulted in immediate action. Haaretz reports:
In light of the decision to outlaw the branch, the Israel Police and Shin Bet security service seized the group’s property and closed its offices. Court orders were issued to shut down 17 non-profit organizations and movements that operate on behalf of the group, including those in Rahat, Jaffa, Nazareth and Umm al-Fahm. The Shin Bet also said the bank accounts of these organizations that were used “for the movement’s activities against state security” had been frozen overnight, and that computers and documents found in the offices during an overnight raid had been seized.
The move by Netanyahu to ban the group began in June 2014, when protesters at Islamic Movement protests called for the kidnapping of IDF soldiers. That effort was resisted by elements within Shin Bet and the Ministry of Justice.
The two bills introduced earlier this month by Cruz and Diaz-Balart, S. 2230 and H.R. 3892, note in their findings that the U.S. government has already designated branches, leaders and charities of the Muslim Brotherhood internationally as terrorist organizations.
In submitting the bill, Cruz told the Washington Free Beacon that the Justice Department has argued in federal court that the Muslim Brotherhood is directly tied to terrorism:
“This bill puts the lie to the notion that the Muslim Brotherhood is a peaceful political organization that can be a legitimate partner for America,” the lawmaker said. “In 2008 the Justice Department successfully prosecuted the largest terrorism-financing trial in American history arguing that the Muslim Brotherhood directed U.S. affiliates such as the Holy Land Foundation to provide ‘media, money and men’ to Hamas. That support was used for terrorist attacks against Americans and our allies in the Middle East. When they are capable they will try to do the same thing here.”
If passed, the bill requires the State Department to either designate the Muslim Brotherhood, or provide a set of detailed explanations to Congress of why the group doesn’t meet the terror designation criteria.