Analysis: Morsy, Hamas and the short-lived honeymoon (JERUSALEM POST) By KHALED ABU TOAMEH 08/08/12)
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For Hamas, the timing of Sunday night’s terror attack in Sinai could
not have been worse. The attack, which resulted in the killing of 16
Egyptian border guards while they were enjoying the fast-breaking
meal of Ramadan, took place just when it seemed that Hamas and Egypt
were about to embark on a honeymoon.
In fact, the terror attack has been a complete disaster for Hamas,
both politically and economically.
Just last week, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy received Hamas Prime
Minister Ismail Haniyeh in his palace in Cairo, and agreed with him
on a series of measures to ease restrictions imposed on residents of
the Gaza Strip.
The two men agreed, among other things, that the Rafah border
crossing would be opened daily for 12 hours to allow more
Palestinians to leave or enter Gaza.
Haniyeh and Morsy also agreed that Egypt would immediately stop
deporting Palestinians who arrive at Cairo International Airport
without an entry visa. Instead, the Palestinians would be granted 72-
hour visas that would give them time to sort out their travel
Hamas leaders hailed the Haniyeh-Morsy agreement as a “huge
achievement” and expressed hope that it would mark the beginning of
the end of the blockade on Gaza.
Hamas officials pointed out that the agreement was announced despite
opposition from Egypt’s Supreme Military Council and General
The military establishment in Egypt has long considered Hamas a
threat to the country’s national security and interests, mainly
because of the Islamist movement’s close ties with terror groups
operating in Sinai.
That’s why many Egyptians have not welcomed Morsy’s rapprochement
In interviews with Arab TV stations and comments on social media
sites, many Egyptians blamed their president for the “massacre” in
Sinai and demanded the closure of the Rafah border crossing.
Palestinian Authority officials in the West Bank have also expressed
discontent with Morsy’s gestures toward Hamas. They are concerned
that lifting the blockade would tighten Hamas’s grip on the Gaza
Strip and rally more people behind the movement.
Apart from the political damage, the terror attack has also dealt a
severe economic blow to Hamas. Immediately after the attack, the
Egyptians forced the Hamas government to close down all underground
tunnels that are vital to preventing the total collapse of Gaza’s
economy. The tunnels are used to smuggle not only weapons, but also
various goods and fuel.
Beleaguered Hamas leaders continued Tuesday to insist that their
movement was not involved in the Sinai “massacre.”
In a bid to calm Egyptian public opinion, Hamas has even declared a
state of mourning over the death of the Egyptian border guards and
vowed to do its utmost to help reveal the identity of the
But many Palestinians agreed Tuesday that in light of the growing
tensions between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, it would take a long time
before Hamas and Morsy would be able to even think about a honeymoon.
(© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 08/08/12)
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