Daily Israel Report

Morsi Meets Mashaal, Stresses Support for 'Palestinians'

Egypt's new Islamist president Morsi met senior Hamas officials and pledged his support for the "struggle of the Palestinian nation".
By Elad Benari, Canada
First Publish: 7/21/2012, 1:34 AM

Morsi meets Mashaal
Morsi meets Mashaal
Reuters

Egypt, under the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood and President Mohammed Morsi, is tightening relations with Hamas and is working hard to promote the reconciliation between Hamas and rival faction Fatah.

After meeting this week with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, Morsi met on Thursday with Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal, his deputy Musa Abu Marzouq and other members of Hamas’s politburo. Hamas is an offshoot of the extreme Islamist Muslim Brotherhood.

The official Egyptian news agency noted that during the meeting, Morsi stressed the importance he places on Egypt's support “for the Palestinian nation’s struggle to achieve its legitimate rights”, unifying  the lines between Hamas and Fatah, supplying Gaza with fuel and electricity and easing the restrictions on the border crossing between Gaza and Egypt.

Mashaal told Morsi that Hamas does not want to place responsibility for Gaza on Egypt’s shoulders, saying Gaza is an integral part of “Palestine”.

Fatah has said it is opposed to the opening of Gaza’s border with Egypt, claiming it is part of Israel’s plan “to separate between Gaza and Judea and Samaria and annex Gaza into Egypt.”

A Fatah official 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. The official claimed Hamas has given its blessing to this policy.

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.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)