Hamas and Egypt reach agreement on Gaza

Hamas says it reached an agreement with Egypt to improve commercial exchanges and increase fuel supply to Gaza.

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Elad Benari,

Egyptian soldiers on Gazan border
Egyptian soldiers on Gazan border
Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash 90

Hamas and Egypt have reached an agreement to improve commercial exchanges and increase fuel supply to Gaza, Hamas’s chief of financial affairs said on Tuesday.

In a statement quoted by the Ma’an news agency, the official, Yousif al-Kayyali, said that the agreement was reached between Egypt and a delegation of Hamas leaders who recently visited Cairo.

He added that the new agreements would take effect immediately following the completion of maintenance work at the Egypt-controlled Rafah crossing in southern Gaza.

He added that Egyptian authorities had “promised” that new policies would be implemented at the crossing, which would be used for both the passage of people and goods.

"The coming days will see improvements in power and fuel supplies in the Gaza Strip," al-Kayyali said, according to Ma’an.

Yihya al-Sinwar, Hamas's leader in Gaza, visited Cairo last month in an attempt to reach an agreement with the Egyptian government on easing the restrictions it imposes on Gaza.

Hamas enjoyed good relations with former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, a member of Hamas’s parent group, the Muslim Brotherhood.

However, relations have been tense under current President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, who has cracked down on the underground tunnels between the Sinai Peninsula and Gaza, which terrorists use to smuggle terrorists and weapons from Egypt into the coastal enclave.

Gaza has been suffering from electricity shortages in recent weeks after Israel began cutting electricity supplies to Gaza at the request of Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Abbas, who heads the Fatah faction which is Hamas’s longtime rival, is attempting to pressure Hamas to give control of Gaza back to Fatah.

Egypt delivered a million liters of fuel to the Gaza power station late last month, but late last week Hamas accused the PA of blocking fuel payments to Egypt from going through banks.

Al-Kayyali said on Tuesday that a delegation of Egyptian doctors would be visiting Gaza in order to examine the deteriorating medical situation there, and to take note of medical needs and machinery that the impoverished territory “urgently needs.”

Al-Kayyali further noted that more Hamas delegations would visit Egypt in the future in order to “follow up on arrangements” regarding the Rafah crossing and commercial exchanges between Egypt and Gaza.