Egypt Willing to Give PLO Unity Government Gaza Border
A senior Egyptian official revealed Saturday that newly elected President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's administration strongly supports the new Hamas-Fatah unity government, and is considering giving it supervision of the Rafah crossing from Gaza to Sinai.
The official, who spoke to the Judea and Samaria-based Arab Ma'an News Agency on condition of anonymity, said Egypt is willing to open the crossing which has been closed for months.
The move is part of an Egyptian siege of the Hamas-enclave of Gaza, which has sealed off the illegal smuggling tunnels that are used to transport fuel and goods from Sinai, but also weapons and terrorists, and has consequently caused an economic collapse in Gaza.
As part of Egypt's conditions for easing its siege, Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas would be required to re-open presidential headquarters in Gaza.
Additionally, Hamas would have to separate from the Muslim Brotherhood, which it is an offshoot of, and not interfere with Egyptian affairs. Apparently the reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah has impacted Egypt's appraisal of Hamas relations.
Egypt banned Hamas in March, accusing the terrorist group of a December attack on Egyptian police headquarters, and of planning church bombings in Sinai last Christmas. Hamas has denied the Egyptian government’s allegations, claiming they were an "attempt to demonize Hamas."
Sisi, who is to be sworn in to his role as president on Sunday, strongly supports the new unity government according to the official, and will meet Abbas in Egypt to arrange relations between the new government and the new Egyptian administration.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres congratulated Sisi last Friday for his Tuesday victory.
Sisi laid out his policy in interviews before the elections, stating that there was a chance for "true peace" if Israel adopts the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, which demanded Israel withdraw from Judea and Samaria at which point the Arab states would supposedly recognize it.
In the same interview Sisi said he would be willing to change the peace agreement with Israel.