A senior Hamas delegation is scheduled to arrive in Cairo on Tuesday amid reports that Egypt has been exerting pressure on the Palestinian terrorist group to halt the weekly mass demonstrations along the Israeli border.
Hamas leaders Saleh Arouri and Musa Abu Marzouk will head the delegation, which is expected to hold talks with Egyptian officials regarding the protests as well as the ongoing dispute between Hamas and PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s ruling Fatah faction.
According to an unconfirmed report, the Hamas officials are also scheduled to meet with Fatah leaders in Cairo. If true, it would be the first meeting between the two rival factions since the assassination attempt on PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah last month.
Get The Times of Israel's Daily Edition by email and never miss our top stories FREE SIGN UP
The report said that a Fatah delegation headed by Mahmoud Al Aloul, deputy chairman of the faction, has also been invited to Cairo.
The Egyptians fear the weekly demonstrations along the border between Gaza and Israel could spin out of control and lead to another military confrontation between Israel and Hamas, a Palestinian Authority official in Ramallah said on Sunday.
On the eve of the visit to Cairo, Mahmoud Zahar, a senior Hamas official in the Gaza Strip, said that his group was prepared to “study any advice given to it, and would accept any advice that serves Palestinian interests.
However, Zahar said “it was in the interest of the Palestinians to continue the March of Return until we achieve its goals. We make our decisions based on the interests of the Palestinians.”
The “March of Return” has “exposed to the world Israeli crimes,” he said.
Referring to the Egyptian-brokered reconciliation agreement signed between rival parties Hamas and Fatah in Cairo last October but has yet to be implemented, Zahar said: “Fatah does not want any agreement and is trying to hold Hamas responsible for the failure of the reconciliation agreement. Fatah and Mahmoud Abbas are can’t implement the agreement, and this is a waste of time and effort. I believe we will not get anything [from Abbas].”
Zahar and other Hamas leaders denied a report claiming the group had received an offer that would see a European committee manage the humanitarian and social affairs in Gaza if Abbas levies additional sanctions on the Hamas-run enclave.
“These are test balloons,” Zahar said. “When we receive something, we study its positive and negative aspects in a way that serves Palestinian interests.
The Hezbollah-affiliated Al Akhbar newspaper claimed on Monday that the European proposal was presented to Hamas through an unnamed international party. It said that the proposal calls for European countries to manage humanitarian and day-to-day affairs of the Gaza Strip, including paying salaries to civil servants there.
In return, the reported proposal called for Hamas to pledge not to use its weapons against Israel for at least five years and would secure the border with Israel, on the basis of the plan called “Food for Security.”
Hammad Al Raqab, another Hamas official, also denied as “fabrications,” and said he doubted that any international party would make such a proposal to Hamas.
A spokesperson for the European Union also denied the report, saying the bloc would only recognize the Palestinian Authority as the leaders of Gaza.
On Saturday, an Egyptian delegation headed by Sameh Nabil, director of the Palestinian Portfolio in Egypt’s General Intelligence Service, held meetings with Hamas leaders Ismail Haniyeh and Yehya Sinwar in Gaza.
According to the Palestinian website Quds News Network, the Hamas leaders refused to discuss the weekly border protests with the Egyptian delegation.
The website quoted Palestinian sources as saying that the five-hour meeting was tense and included verbal altercations between the two sides.
The sources claimed that the Egyptians were outraged because Hamas had ignored Egypt’s request to send representatives of the terror group to Cairo last week.
A Hamas official in the Gaza Strip said that his group made it clear to the Egyptians that the “March of Return” was an issue concerning all Palestinians, and not a specific faction.
سایت تابناک از انتشار نظرات حاوی توهین و افترا و نوشته شده با حروف لاتین (فینگیلیش) معذور است.