The Palestinian Prime Minister in Gaza has confirmed that his government is ready for full cooperation with the Egyptians in the investigation into the killing of 16 Egyptian soldiers near Rafah on the Egypt-Gaza-Israel border as they broke their Ramadan fast last August. Ismail Haniyeh said in a statement distributed to journalists that the government is ready to send any Palestinian from the Gaza Strip to be prosecuted before Egyptian courts if he is found to have been complicit in the crime.
“We are obligated not to interfere in Egypt’s internal affairs,” said the Prime Minister. “We take a similar position with regards to all Egyptian political parties as they are all ‘strategic treasures’ for Palestine,” he added.
Affirming that the Islamic Resistance Movement, known by its Arabic acronym of Hamas, has no other option but to struggle against the Israeli occupation, Mr Haniyeh stressed that its compass is directed towards Jerusalem and the rest of Palestine’s occupied land, not towards Egypt or anywhere else.
Hamas has been the target of a concerted defamation campaign in the Egyptian media. Journalists accuse the movement of being complicit in the killing of the Egyptian soldiers as well as spreading chaos in Egyptian cities for the benefit of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Several Egyptian opposition leaders, including controversial Hamdeen Sabbahi, as well as Brotherhood figures have denied the allegations. Sayed al-Badawi, the leader of the traditional Egyptian Al-Wafd Party phoned Haniyeh last week and apologised on behalf of the Egyptians for the campaign against Hamas.