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Hamas leaders in Cairo to discuss reconciliation, security, and humanitarian conditions in Gaza

Ahmed Eleiba , Friday 9 Feb 2018
Ismail Haniyeh
In this file photo taken on January 23, 2018 Hamas' leader Ismail Haniya delivers a speech in Gaza City on January 23, 2018 (Photo: AFP)
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A delegation from the Palestinian group Hamas led by the head of its political bureau Ismail Haniyeh arrived in Cairo on Friday to discuss with Egyptian officials security, reconciliation and humanitarian conditions in Gaza.  

The delegation was received by the head of Egyptian General Intelligence Abbas Kamel.

Hamas spokesman Fawzy Barhoum said that the delegation includes members of the Hamas political bureau Khalil Al-Haya, Rouhy Moshtaha, and Fathi Hammad.

Barhoum said that the visit, which had been scheduled for some time, will tackle the tough humanitarian conditions [caused by the 10-year-old Israeli siege of the Strip].

"The visit aims at continuing the implementation of the Palestinian reconciliation deal in accordance with the 2011 and 2017 agreements, and utilise Egyptian mediation efforts towards that goal," Barhoum added. 

The negotiations between the two main Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah to achieve Palestinian reconciliation, sponsored by the Egyptian General Intelligence, have led to an agreement to end the 10-year-old row between the two groups.

However, the implementation of the agreement has since met setbacks.

Sources in Cairo said that this visit could involve setting a special timetable concerning reconciliation issues.

Egyptian General Mohamed Ibrahim, one of the architects of the 2011 reconciliation agreement, told Ahram Online that current problems in the reconciliation efforts relate to difficulties in deciding the mechanisms of the work of the regrouped Palestinian ministries, and the absence of consensus on problems facing the employees of the Palestinian Authority.

"The [recent] mutual negative statements between Hamas and Fatah leaders have largely contributed to the tension between the two groups; no efforts at reconciliation could succeed in such an atmosphere," Ibrahim added.

"The continuation of Egyptian mediation is important, despite all previous successful mediation efforts, because it is the only guarantee of the success of the reconciliation process, and the Palestinian side should be aware that Egyptian efforts have their limits and expectations," Ibrahim said.

He added that it is important for Hamas and Fatah to "make all required compromises and show flexibility to achieve real reconciliation on the ground."

The Hamas delegation’s visit comes shortly after Cairo said that it foiled an attempt by 18 Daesh terrorists to infiltrate from Sinai to assassinate Haniyeh, reflecting a new level of security coordination between Cairo and Hamas, marked by joint security arrangements on the borders between Rafah and Gaza.

Hamas has also arrested a number of Daesh terrorists who had attempted to enter into Sinai.

While social media accounts affiliated with Daesh have broadcast statements and videos that showed activities by Palestinian extremists, some of them have joined the group in war-torn Syria.

Leaks of investigations into extremists by Egyptian investigation bodies have revealed that the head of the Daesh group in Sinai is the Palestinian extremist Rasem Abu Gazar.  

Cairo had started efforts to arrange a prisoner swap between Israel and Hamas, but tensions between Gaza and Israel, which some observers say are nearing war levels, have cut this process short.

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