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Haniyyeh denies frosty relations with Egypt

February 15, 2014 at 1:28 pm

Palestinian Prime Minister in Gaza and deputy head of Hamas’ political bureau, Ismail Haniyyeh, has dismissed allegations of tensions in the relations between Hamas and Egypt, Qatar’s Al-Sharq newspaper reported today.

Haniyyeh said that he had even met senior Egyptian intelligence officials and discussed Palestinian internal reconciliation, including new ideas for reconciliation.

“An Egyptian delegation is going to visit the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in order to directly and closely discuss the issue and the obstacles before the reconciliation,” Haniyyeh told Al-Sharq.

He affirmed that their relationship with Egypt was good and stable. “We are in continuous contact with Egypt, which is the incubator for Palestinians,” he said. “It is our gate to the outside world and it is the sister state with which we follow up all Palestinian files, including reconciliation.”

Regarding the defamation campaign by Egyptian media against Hamas, Haniyyeh said: “There is no basis for the allegations that Hamas interferes in the Egyptian issues. The official levels know that these are just lies and have nothing to do with the truth.”

Commenting on the issue of the tunnels between Gaza and Egypt, Haniyyeh said that his movement is not against their complete closure, but that this must be under the condition that an alternative is afforded. “There must be natural movement of goods through formal crossings,” he said.

With regard to Syria, Haniyyeh said that his movement supports the demands of the Syrians, but at the same time, he denied any involvement of Hamas’ military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, in the Syrian revolution. “Al-Qassam works only inside the Palestinian territories,” he said.

When asked about whether the Arab Spring might reach the West Bank, he said: “We have had an Arab Spring a long time ago. We have had an intifada and we as a people have been busy fighting against the Israeli occupation. By purifying ourselves of the occupation, we hope to reorganise the Palestinian home,” he said.

Haniyyeh welcomed the Qatari call to hold a condensed meeting of the Arab League in Cairo on Palestinian reconciliation. “We made it clear that we are ready to abide by the Cairo and Doha agreements. We called for more contact with Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, to encourage him to continue toward reconciliation and the ending of the division,” he said.

He also said: “We must not blame external interference for the failure of reconciliation and we should not wait for the results of the absurd negotiations.”

The Prime Minister hailed the Qatari visit to the Gaza Strip in 2012. He described it as the breaker of the Israeli siege on Gaza and said it had opened the way for other senior officials such as the Malaysian Prime Minister to visit.

“We are waiting now for a visit by Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who announced he would be visiting Gaza despite American pressure,” he said. “Such visits reinforce the Arab and Islamic depth to the Palestinian issue.”