Hamas: Egypt's security in Palestine's interest

Hamas: Egypt's security in Palestine's interest
Hamas officials have said they have been in contact with Egypt on alleviating the blockade in Gaza, and say that Egypt's national security is in their interest.
3 min read
29 February, 2016
Gaza has been suffering under a blockade imposed by both Egypt and Israel [AFP]
Hamas officials have confirmed contacts with Egyptian authorities to "alleviate the siege on the Gaza strip", but refused to confirm speculations that a delegation from the movement will soon visit Cairo.

The comments from Hamas officials come in the wake of Israeli media claims that that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah-Sisi was overheard telling a US delegation that he viewed Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu as "a leader with great powers that help him not only lead his country but also could propel the region – even the world – forward."

There have also been comments from various officials of Hamas refuting on-going claims made in Israeli and Egyptian media that Hamas is cooperating with IS in Sinai

"There have been attempts to connect with the Egyptian side to ease the blockade on Gaza, but in many cases they have not been responded to," a Hamas official told The New Arab.

Mousa Abu Marzouk, deputy head of the political bureau for Hamas has not commented on the reports, beyond saying that the movement was keen to resist occupation.

In a recent post on his facebook page, Marzouk said that the policy of Hamas was to maintain Egypt’s national security as the security of the Arab Nation is in Palestine’s interest.

He also stressed that that the movement did not interfere in Egyptian affairs, and that Hamas was doing what it could to save the borders between Gaza and Egypt.

Abu Marzouk also stressed that the Gaza remained the most adversely affected by the precarious security situation in Sinai where Islamic State militants are battling the Egyptian military in the North.

His comments came in the wake of continuing speculation in Israeli and Egyptian media that Hamas is co-operating with IS in Sinai, charges that Hamas have repeatedly denied.

"The movement was falsely accused of cooperating with extremists and terrorists in Sinai, while it was the first to confront extremism and the most threatened party of terrorism," the statement read.

Marzouk’s comments reflects those made by Ismail Haniyeh who also said that Hamas has no military role in Sinai or in the Egyptian side of Rafah.

"We have never allowed anyone to hurt Egypt's security in the past and we will never allow this in the future," he said.

Osama Hamdan, Hamas chief for foreign affairs, told Anadolu that Hamas is holding conversations with Egyptian authorities in order to develop bilateral relations between the two parties.

"We want our relations with Egypt to be strong," he said, though also declined to comment on reports of a possible upcoming visit to Cairo. 

Egypt has flooded tunnels that provided a lifeline to Gaza, reportedly at the request of Israel, although head of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas has also said that the destruction of the tunnels was his idea.  

Rafah border has also remained closed since the current Egyptian president came into power in 2013, opening only for short periods every few months.