The Grand Sheikh of Al Azhar, Dr Ahmed Al Tayeb, has stated that he opposes the normalisation of relations with the Israeli Occupation and that this has always been his stance on the issue.
During a meeting with Mahmoud Al Zahhar who is a member of Hamas' political bureau, Dr Al Tayeb called on the Palestinian factions to reach national reconciliation and to unite the Palestinian people's position. "A divided people cannot stand in the face of Israel," the Grand Imam said.
"With your division, you have given them [the Occupation] a pretext to halt negotiations, and without the reconciliation you will remain distant from each other and Israel; this has been a plot against you – to weaken and divide you, and one which you must unify to confront."
Dr Al Tayeb expressed his readiness to participate in the reconciliation efforts between the Palestinian factions "while safeguarding the rights of Hamas, Fatah, and the Palestinian people, because the Palestinian people deserve more than this in order to lead a better life. Al Azhar stands with you and behind you."
On his part, Dr Al Zahhar stressed that Hamas supports the reconciliation and "trusts the ability of Egypt and its people to push forward Palestinian reconciliation."
"We are completely ready to sit with Fatah and reach reconciliation with it," Al Zahhar said.