Friday, July 5, 2013


Analysis:Fall of Egypt Muslim Brotherhood movement a nightmare for Hamas

Khaled Meshaal
GAZA, July 5- Leaders of Hamas movement in Gaza follow with deep concerns the dramatic changes in Egypt after millions backed by the Egyptian army on Wednesday toppled Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood Movement candidate in 2012 President elections.

Observers believe that toppling Morsi and the fall of the Islamic group there represent a nightmare for Hamas in Gaza due to the strong ties between the two Islamic groups, adding that this would bring tight pressures on Gaza and on Hamas, which had violently seized control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007.

Three days ago, Egyptian security forces tightened its security measures at the borderline area between the coastal enclave and Egypt, where it destroyed 20 smuggling tunnels and shut down Rafah border crossing until a further notice.

The observers also believe that the influence of the situation in Egypt and other Arab countries might weaken the Palestinian position in confronting Israel as these countries are now busy with fixing its internal affairs. Hamas was careful and refrained from reacting to what happened in Egypt.

The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) expressed a neutral position towards the crisis in Egypt, however President Abbas sent his blessing to the Egyptian leadership after toppling Morsi. He praised the Egyptian army for their efforts to restore calm and stop more security deterioration.

Ismail Haneya, Hamas premier and the deputy chief of the Islamic movement told prayers in central Gaza "Our people might be sad for what they saw here or there, but this doesn't mean that nations in the region are not supporting our people and their resistance to end the siege imposed on Gaza.

Zeyad Zaza, Haneya's deputy told that his movement and his government prefer not to intervene into the internal affairs of Egypt or any other Arab country," adding "We don't expect any negative measures that would influence the strong Palestinian- Egyptian ties."

Morsi had repeatedly received Hamas leaders and officials in Cairo during the past year, where he eased restrictions imposed on Rafah borders crossing, but after Morsi was toppled, political analysts expressed concerns that the changes in Egypt won't serve the Gaza Strip's interests.

Mekhemer Abu Se'da, the political science professor at al-Azhar University in Gaza told that "the ongoing changes in Egypt won't serve either Hamas or Gaza Strip's interests in the coming period," adding "Hamas has to reconsider gaining back the Egyptian people's confidence."

When Morsi won the presidential elections, Hamas celebrated all over the Gaza Strip and its militants fired into the air. The Islamic movement was pleased when the Muslim Brotherhood Movement ruled in Tunis, in Egypt and in many other Arab and Islamic countries.

During the one year rule of Morsi, Hamas in Gaza was accused by the Egyptian media and the secular Egyptians of intervening into Egypt's internal affairs by backing Morsi and his Islamic movement. Abu Se'da said "the Egyptian accusations were exaggerated and unjustified."

He expected that more tight measures on Hamas and on the Gaza Strip will be imposed by the Egyptian army, mainly shutting down more tunnels and keeping the closure of Rafah crossing for longer period until the political situation in Egypt settles down.

Other Palestinian political analysts and think-tankers believe that the fall of the Islamists in Egypt would weaken Hamas influence in the region and would oblige Hamas to accept the conditions to finalize the internal reconciliation and hold general elections in the Palestinian territories.

Ibrahim Abrash, a political academic and the former minister of culture said on his Facebook personal page that Hamas must stop considering itself an extension to the Muslim Brotherhood Movement "because such Hamas strategy would cause severe harm to the Palestinians."

"Gaza Strip, ruled by Hamas, would make the enclave an area that represents a security burden to the Egyptians and this would be negatively reflected on the populations who will suffer more at the crossing and in their movement," said Abrash, expecting that more security measures will be imposed on Gaza.

In November last year, Egypt mediated a ceasefire agreement between Hamas and Israel that ended eight days of Israeli aerial war on the Gaza Strip. Egypt has been also brokering and sponsoring the reconciliation talks between Hamas and Abbas Fatah Party.

Ahmed Rafiq Awad, the political analyst from the West Bank told that the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood Movement in Egypt " obliges Hamas to carefully reconsider the question of reconciliation in order not to face any future pressure that would lead to ending its presence."

"Hamas must be more serious in the future and try to join the Palestinian political system especially after its ties with Iran, Syria and Hezbollah are dropping down," said Awad, who expected that once the situation settles in Egypt, it will resume sponsoring the internal Palestinian reconciliation.

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