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Fatah Opposes Opening Gaza-Egypt Border

Fatah says it is opposed to the opening of Gaza’s border with Egypt, says Hamas supports Israeli policy of giving Egypt control of Gaza.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 7/17/2012, 3:13 AM

Rafiah border closed
Rafiah border closed
Flash 90

Amin Maqbul, secretary general of Fatah's revolutionary council, said on Monday that Fatah is opposed to the opening of Gaza’s border with Egypt, as the Hamas government has demanded from the new Egyptian under President Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Speaking with the Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm, Maqbul said that he is convinced that the new regime in Egypt will not be fooled by what he termed “the new-old Israeli plan, seeking to separate between Gaza and Judea and Samaria and annex Gaza into Egypt.”

Maqbul blamed Hamas for leading a policy of separating Gaza from the Palestinian Authority-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria, a plan which began to be implemented during the 2005 Israeli disengagement from Gaza. Maqbul claimed Hamas has given its blessing to this policy.

“There is evidence which indicates that Israel is interested in placing Gaza under Egyptian control,” he said, “and the most important evidence is the unilateral disengagement from Gaza, which was carried out without coordination with the Palestinian leadership.”

He further claimed that another evidence of Israel’s support of this policy is that it turned a blind eye toward the arms smuggling by Hamas into Gaza, although it was known that the weapons would be used by Hamas in a violent coup against the PA which it carried out in 2007.

Maqbul claimed that in order to achieve its goal, Israel continues its siege of Gaza, a fact which adds pressure on the Egyptian leadership to open the border with Gaza.

He added that there is a tendency within the Hamas leadership to accept the separation of Gaza from Judea and Samaria, which is expressed in its placing pressure on Egypt to open the border with Gaza, while at the same time being silent about opening the crossing between Gaza and Judea and Samaria via Israel.

Last week it was reported that Hamas’ Prime Minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh is expected to visit Cairo within the next few weeks, where he will meet with Morsi and ask him to reopen the border between Egypt and Gaza, which has been closed for the past five years.

Haniyeh, meanwhile, said on Friday that he is convinced that Morsi will protect Gaza against Israeli aggression and added he is convinced that Morsi will open the borders between Gaza and Egypt and will remove the blockade.

Hamas and Fatah have had a longtime row since Hamas violently overthrew the Fatah government in Gaza five years ago.

The two factions signed a reconciliation deal in May of 2011, but the deal has repeatedly faltered as the parties spar over its implementation.