Gaza, Asharq Al-Awsat – The Hamas movement has announced that it welcomes the advent of Arab forces to Gaza only if the objective is to assist the Palestinian people resist the occupation and liberate their land.
Commenting on what the Israeli news agencies had reported last Saturday (5 April) that Egypt had suggested deploying Arab forces in Gaza to help break the deadlock, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum denied that the movement had received such a proposal from the Egyptian government.
Recently, there have been frequent meetings between Egyptian officials and representatives from the Palestinian factions in the city of al Arish.
In his statement to Asharq Al-Awsat, Barhoum stressed that Egypt, or any other Arab state, would not consider deploying Arab troops in Gaza when “there is a national unity government that governs and has its security mechanisms, which it implements to the full extent.”
He added: “If there is an Arab party that is truly concerned with resolving the crisis in Gaza, then it must first adhere to the Arab League’s decisions to lift the embargo imposed on the Palestinian people and help them in their pursuit of liberation and end the internal crisis.”
Barhoum considers the presence of any Arab force in the Gaza Strip pointless, because he believes that the problem is not related to a lack of security forces but rather to the existence of the occupation. He stressed that the Palestinian people reject any intervention that is not consistent with the Palestinian pursuit of liberation.
Last Saturday, Israeli Channel 2 disclosed that it had obtained information indicating that the Egypt had informed Israel and more than one international party about the possibility of stationing an Arab force in Gaza with the aim of resolving the crisis.
Ehud Yaari, commentator and expert on Middle Eastern affairs who was also one of the candidates for the post of Israeli ambassador in Egypt, stated that it was the first time since 1967 that Egypt has proposed to deploy Arab troops in Gaza.
Moreover, Yaari indicated that Cairo had informed international parties that Israel, which had been informed on a political and security level, was not opposed to the idea.
Meanwhile, the relatives of the Palestinian detainees in Egyptian prisons have issued an appeal to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak demanding immediate intervention to release the prisoners, furthermore upholding that they are being tortured.
In a press conference held in Gaza, a number of Palestinian detainees who had recently been released from Egyptian prisons have called upon the Egyptian judiciary to hold the officials responsible for their torture accountable. They have also called for the return of their money and personal possessions that have been unjustly confiscated by the Egyptian authorities, which also include cars.
The released detainees have stated that this maligns the reputation of the Egyptian security and does not serve Egyptian-Palestinian relations. The released prisoners disclosed that they have been shocked by what they were subjected to in Egyptian prisons in terms of torture, affront and abuse of human dignity. They stated that the prisons were “human slaughterhouses” where torture practices are harsher than those practiced by Israel. Eight Palestinian prisoners remain in Egyptian prisons.