Hamas political bureau talks with Egypt “of particular importance”

6 Oct

A top level delegation of 19 members of the newly elected Hamas political bureau, including leaders Yahya Sinwar and Ismail Haniyeh, have been meeting with Egyptian officials in Cairo, to discuss reconstruction of the Gaza Strip and ceasefire with Israel.

The Anadolu Agency reports that a Hamas delegation held talks on Monday with Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel to discuss a host of issues, a Hamas source said.

“Progress has been made regarding the cease-fire understandings, accelerating the reconstruction process and easing the blockade,” the source told Anadolu Agency.

The source said the two sides agreed on the necessity of consolidating the cease-fire with Israel.

According to the source, Egypt pledged to take further steps to improve the economic situation in Gaza and allow the entry of goods via the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.

The talks between the Hamas delegation and the Egyptian intelligence chief also dwelt on the situation in Jerusalem and Palestinian developments, the source said.

There was no comment from either Egypt or Hamas on the report.

The Cairo talks and what is required of Egypt

A Palestinian security officer stands guard at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip on 3 October 2021, as a delegation from Gaza's Hamas rulers travels to Egypt for talks. [SAID KHATIB/AFP via Getty Images]

A Palestinian security officer at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip. (said Keaton/AFP via Getty Images)

OPINION by Sameer Hamatto, Middle East Monitor, 6 October 2021

The Hamas delegation’s visit to the Egyptian capital Cairo is of particular importance, as they will discuss with Egyptian officials a number of files which the Palestinians have high hopes for major breakthroughs in, especially those related to their day-to-day lives.

Perhaps the most prominent files that will be discussed is the long-awaited matter of the reconstruction of what was destroyed by the occupation in the war last May, in addition to completely lifting the siege and allowing freedom of movement and travel through the Rafah crossing without restrictions. The most important file to be discussed is the ceasefire and prisoner exchange deal through which the people hope for the release of a large number of prisoners from the occupation’s prisons, especially those with long prison sentences.

Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar [Getty]

The presence of the Hamas delegation in Cairo, with the attendance of all the members of the political bureau representing those inside and outside of Palestine, is a great indication, especially since it coincides with the convening of the political bureau’s first meeting since its internal elections.

Our people, all over the world, greatly appreciate and value the Egyptian efforts, as it can make important breakthroughs on files that have been long-awaited because of Egypt’s weight and important role in following up on the Palestinian issue.

However, what raises the fears and apprehension of the Palestinians is exerting great pressure on the movement’s leadership to extract positions that contradict the Palestinian constants, including solving the dilemma of Gaza without linking it to the rest of Palestine, including the West Bank, Jerusalem and the territories occupied in 1948.

These fears are justified, especially since there is an American desire to support this trend and their realisation that Gaza and its resistance are a safety valve for our people in the West Bank, Jerusalem and historic Palestine because of their role in curbing Israel’s crimes and oppression against our people, stopping the settlers’ violations, and their continued desecration of the sanctity of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Palestinian official Issam al-Daalis (C) from Hamas' political bureau stands outside the VIP hall at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip on 3 October 2021, as a delegation from Gaza travels to Egypt for talks. [SAID KHATIB/AFP via Getty Images]

Palestinian official Issam al-Daalis (C) from Hamas’ political bureau stands outside the VIP hall at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip on 3 October 2021, as a delegation from Gaza travels to Egypt for talks. [SAID KHATIB/AFP via Getty Images]

We expect Egypt, which warmly embraces the Palestinians, to play a role that meets the aspirations of our people to be liberated from the suffocating siege that they suffered under for over 15 years. It is also expected to start the process of reconstruction and end the Israeli aggression against our people.

We are aware of the extent of the pressures that Egypt is subjected to by the US administration, which seeks to end the Gaza predicament with solutions that achieve the aspirations and security of the occupying state at the expense of the rights of our people who yearn to live in dignity on their land.

READ: Was Bennett’s visit to Egypt really ‘historic’? 

Therefore, Egypt is required to strike a balance in dealing with the Palestinian file and to pressure the occupation to reach an honourable exchange deal that leads to ending the suffering of prisoners in the occupation’s prisons and a truce agreement that not only includes stopping the Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip, but also on Jerusalem, the West Bank and the territories occupied in 1948, as well as stopping the violations against Al-Aqsa Mosque.

In the midst of this, our people are looking forward to our sister, Egypt, contributing to the success of the efforts to hold legislative and presidential elections, which people are greatly counting on to end the division and monopoly over Palestinian decisions.

We also expect Egypt to make more efforts to bring the reconciliation train back on track, although we are fully aware of how difficult this is, especially as  result of the PA, which chose for itself to continue its reconciliation with the occupation and is keen on continuing to sanctify security coordination at the expense of our people, their resistance and their national constants.

Our people are greatly confident that major breakthroughs will be made in all files related to Gaza, but not at the expense of the Palestinian constants. They have high hopes for the delegation to return with positive results for all the issues on the table because failure means the return of matters to the unwanted starting point. We are convinced that the resistance is ready to teach the occupation a lesson that forces it to submit to the will of our people and the conditions of resistance.

Sameer Hamatto is a senior Palestinian journalist and political analyst specialising in Israeli affairs. This article first appeared in Arabic in Addustour on 4 October 2021

Link to original MEMO post: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20211005-the-cairo-talks-and-what-is-required-of-egypt/

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor or Kia Ora Gaza.

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