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What awaits Cairo and Hamas after 'terrorism' ruling

The fate of Egypt-Palestine relations is unclear after a court in Cairo labeled Hamas a terrorist group

Salma Shukrallah , Wednesday 4 Mar 2015
Senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniya
Senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniya (Photo: Reuters)
Views: 3092
Views: 3092

Palestinians have begun talks on the possible impact of a Cairo court ruling that designated Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, a terrorist group.

Leading Hamas member Ismail Haneya said in a public statement in Gaza on Tuesday that Palestinians have been in touch with Egypt to discuss the possible consequences of the recent court decision.

A delegation led by Palestinian Islamic Jihad is currently visiting Cairo to discuss Egypt-Hamas relations.

Leading Jihad member Khaled El-Batsh told Turkey’s Anadolu news agency that the delegation is discussing the future of Palestinian-Egyptian relations, the situation in Gaza with the continued closure of the Rafah border, as well as Egypt's role in inter-Palestinian reconciliation negotiations.  

The court decision has raised questions on the future of Egypt's relations with the Gaza Strip as well as its broader role in ongoing peace negotiations.

Hamas leaders have described the ruling as "shameful."

The verdict was also met by criticism and skepticism from others.

Court verdict a 'disaster'

Ramy Shaath, a member of the BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel) in Egypt, said the decision is a "disaster."

Talking to Ahram Online, Shaath said: "[The court decision] reshapes Egypt's strategic vision in the region in accordance with an internal conflict with the Brotherhood.”

He added: "The decision has created new enemies for Egypt and will have a great impact on its role in the region.

"The decision is a disaster for the people of Gaza," he said, adding that it will also impact Egypt’s role in mediating peace talks.

"Egypt's relationship with Palestine has been guided purely by security concerns and that has reflected on all relations with Palestinians."

"Palestinians cannot own property [in Egypt], are not given residence permits, are not allowed to invest [in Egypt] etc." Shaath said the recent court decision continues to widen the rift and hence compromise Egypt's role in mediating the Palestinian conflict.

Egypt has not only been the main mediator in Palestinian-Israeli peace talks, but has recently represented itself as the main mediator in the Palestinian reconciliation negotiations between Hamas and the PLO.

Last year, rival Palestinian factions met in Cairo to continue reconciliation talks which Egypt has been trying to broker since 2011.

In April 2014, Hamas and the PLO finally announced the reconciliation agreement, a step which Egypt welcomed.

Israel, however, condemned the agreement, slamming the PLO's Mahmoud Abbas for reconciling with Hamas, which it views as a "terrorist" group.

Now that an Egyptian court has also ruled Hamas ‘terrorists’, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said, "It reverses the equation, making the occupation a friend and the Palestinian people an enemy.”

Verdict unlikely to change relations with Gaza or Hamas

Mohamed Gomaa, an expert on Palestine affairs at the Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, believes, however, that the court decision will practically change nothing.

"Egypt has been for some time trying to deprive Hamas of the role of the Palestinian representatives… Hamas members came to Egypt as part of a Palestinian delegation headed by the PLO… Islamic Jihad members were present so that Hamas is not the sole representative of Palestinian armed groups."

A Cairo conference held in October 2014 to raise money for the reconstruction of Gaza saw Mahmoud Abbas of the PLO representing Palestinians while no members of the Hamas group were present. 

While the verdict might have a symbolic impact, Gomaa further opined, it will have little impact on relations with Gaza due to geographical determinants and is not likely to have an impact on Egypt's role in Palestinian affairs.

"Egypt works for its national security interests and accordingly will not end relations with Hamas… Hamas know that Egypt is the only exit for Gaza to the outer world so it will not end cooperation with Egypt."

The relationship between Egypt's authorities and Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood’s sister organisation in Gaza, soured after the ouster of Egyptian Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

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07-03-2015 07:01pm
Ikhwani supporters grasping at straws
Amazing... All the supporters of the ikhwani terrorists look for any opportunity to jump on the new free Egypt. It's over. Egyptians have spoken loud and clear. The black year of ikhwani rule will never return...... Hamas stupidly supports the terrorists in sinia killing egyptians. Evidence was produced by egyptian inteligence as well as palastinian authority. Egypt has done more for the palastinian cause than all other nations combined and will continue to support palastinians in their quest for this free of occupation state. However supporting Palestines freedom has nothing to do with condemning and calling out Hamas for stupidly supporting the terrorists that are murdering Egyptians at the command of the Qataris........ Hamas has complet control over the Gaza Strip nothing goes in or out without their say so. It's simple denounce terrorism cut off supplies and support for the terrorists in sinia and Egypt will ro move them from the terrorist list.
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05-03-2015 06:17pm
The “New Normal”
It is unrealistic and often naive to think that Hamas can gain anything by continually burying their heads in the sand and expect to defeat Israel by throwing stones at their tanks and jets. The New Normal after all those years is that “Israel in not going anywhere” denying that and fighting it is just putting the Gaza people in more danger and massacres, for that Hamas is equally guilty, not only Israel. Egypt has been supporting Gaza for decades, often at the expense of Egyptian lives and treasure. There is no point to keep supporting Hamas if they don’t accept to deal with the “New Normal”, regardless of the allegations of their support to Sinai terrorists!
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04-03-2015 06:58pm
a view back in time might help
whatever happened to the palestinians under turkish and later british ruling,it is useful to see,what they bring into the countries,which help them in need: libanon : civil war jordan :near civil war,population growth,which will soon eradicate the original tribes(civil war again) syria: first protests,then near civil war (ok,saddath put a stop to that!) i dont know any country where they exil,where they live peaceful,merge to the society or stop crying for their forefathers problems and create TODAYS troubles gaza poverty,btw,is their own problem,as they wanted to get the jews out
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08-03-2015 06:07am
A view back in time might help
Hamas was created by Sharon Mossad in 1983 during the invasion of Lebanon as a rival to secular Arafat..which they poisoned, how can you say Palestinians what Palestinians bring into countries? They didn't invade countries, they wer isolated in refugee camps, expelled from their lands with no compensations.
05-03-2015 12:31pm
Egyptians support Palestine
My feeling is that Egyptians generally sustain the Palestinian cause and feel that Hamas is actually undermining any peace talks.Nobody considers Israel

Noura Bakri, Cairo
04-03-2015 04:29pm
Court ruling underscores Sissi's Zionist credentials
He is the Eli Cohen of our time.
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08-03-2015 03:58am
I hope you realize how insanely crazy you sound...
04-03-2015 09:18pm
It looks more like takfiris get weapons from Africa. Attacks are still occurring, so either Gaza is not the main source or policy is failing.
04-03-2015 07:01pm
but you understand,
that the taqfiris in sinai get their weapons etc from the gaza strip?
George Khalaf
04-03-2015 05:32pm
Is Israel ruling Egypt via Sissi?
I don't know if this is true, but I tend to agree with Noura. Hence the question: Is Israel ruling Egypt through Sissi?

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