Cairo Tries to Bridge Gap between PA, Hamas

Ramallah- The meetings of Hamas delegation with the Egyptian intelligence officials focused on two issues: reconciliation within the framework of the status of the Palestinian case and security cooperation, Palestinian informed sources said.

Sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the meetings were positive to a large extent, but the intelligence officials have asked Hamas for additional measures in terms of agreement with Fatah and other measures on the borders, including the demolition of the rest of the tunnels between Gaza and Egypt in order to block the infiltration of militant groups from and to Sinai.

This request was discussed thoroughly when Hamas presented its actions in Gaza to ensure the security of Egypt, sources said. The meetings also tackled the situation in Gaza Strip and means to ease the pressure on its people.

Hamas has demanded that the Rafah border crossing be opened as regularly as possible, fuel and electricity be supplied to Gaza Strip and trade exchanges be carried out. It also demanded Egypt to put pressure on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to halt his measures against Gaza Strip.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh along with Hamas’s leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar traveled to Cairo on Saturday, where they were joined by a number of members of the group, who traveled to Egypt from across the Middle East, including Lebanon, Turkey and Qatar.

Following a meeting between the Hamas political leadership, Haniyeh met with Egyptian Intelligence Minister Khaled Fawzi.

The sources stressed that Egyptian officials and Hamas officials discussed how to overcome internal differences and go to reconciliation.

Hamas said it was ready to dismantle its Administrative Committee, which was formed by the group in March in order to widen its governance in the Strip, if Abbas cancels his measures.

The Hamas delegation also pledged to Egyptian intelligence officials that Hamas would continue to support the safety and security of Egypt, “and would never allow that the Gaza Strip be used to harm Egypt’s security by any means,” according to the statement.

Hamas has sought to improve relations with Cairo in recent months by increasing cross border security, including the construction of the military buffer zone, in hopes that Egypt will ease its enforcement of Israel’s brutal, decade-long siege of the territory and open up the Rafah border crossing.