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Hamas welcomes self-declared Morsy win in Egypt election (JERUSALEM POST) By KHALED ABU TOAMEH 06/18/12)Source: http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=274298 JERUSALEM POST JERUSALEM POST Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
Hamas leaders Monday welcomed the self-declared victory of Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsy in the presidential election and expressed hope that he would change Egypt´s policy toward the Islamist movement.

The campaigns of both the Muslim Brotherhood´s candidate Mohamed Morsy and former air force commander Ahmed Shafik have claimed they are leading the race, each citing their own unofficial tallies. Egypt´s presidential election committee is still compiling results from polling stations and is scheduled to announce the winner of the country´s first real presidential vote on Thursday.

Shortly after Morsy appeared on TV to claim victory in the presidential election, hundreds of Palestinians took to the streets in the Gaza Strip to celebrate his victory, eyewitnesses reported.

They said that Palestinians distributed sweets and marched in the streets, carrying large posters of Morsy and chanting slogans in favor of Egypt´s Muslim Brotherhood organization.

Palestinians said that Morsy´s victory was a "gift" to Hamas and a blow to its rivals in the Palestinian Authority, whose representatives in Ramallah did not comment on the election.

One PA official, however, said that the Palestinian leadership would comment only after the final and official results of the vote are announced.

Morsy´s victory is also seen by Palestinians as a blow to efforts to achieve reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah.

In recent weeks the two parties have been trying to reach agreement on the formation of a new Palestinian "national consensus" government under the auspices of the Egyptian authorities.

Emboldened by Morsy´s election, Hamas will now adopt a tougher stance in the talks with Fatah to achieve reconciliation, according to Palestinian political analysts in the West Bank.

"This is good news for Hamas and bad news for [PA President] Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah," said Ayman Abu Omar, a newspaper columnist from the West Bank. "The fact that the Muslim Brotherhood has won the election in Egypt will strengthen Hamas."

Hamas leaders Musa Abu Marzouk and Ismail Haniyeh were the first Palestinians to congratulate the Muslim Brotherhood on their victory in the Egyptian election.

The two men expressed hope that Egypt would support the Palestinians and reopen the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip permanently.

They also voiced hope that Egypt´s policy toward Israel would change.

Haniyeh hailed the results of the election as a "democratic wedding" and expressed hope that Egypt would enjoy stability and security under the new president.

He said the Palestinians were pinning high hopes on the new leadership in Egypt.

"Israel wanted [secular presidential candidate] Ahmed Shafik, while Hamas and the rest of the Palestinians wanted Morsy," said Bara Sharaf, a columnist affiliated with Hamas. "The Egyptian people wanted the people in Tel Aviv to be unhappy and the people in the Gaza Strip to celebrate."

The Gaza Strip, he added, "has every right to be happy today after suffering for many years because of [ousted Egyptian President] Hosni Mubarak´s hostility toward Hamas."

Reuters contributed to this report (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 06/18/12)

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