Hamas was not "officially" present in Egypt in order for it to be banned (it is present in the hearts of its honourable people), nor has it been "officially" present in any Arab country as far as I know. It is a "state of mind", an idea and heartbeat, not just an organisation that is like any other Palestinian resistance group. Israel acknowledges it more than any other Arab country and carefully deals with it as a reality on the ground, more careful with it than any other Arab country.
The Egyptian judicial order banning Hamas required it to actually be present in Egypt, but today we are living in a world of wonders and oddities. The order bans the Islamic resistance movement Hamas from working within Egyptian borders, bans all its activities and stipulates the confiscation of its headquarters in Egypt (where are the headquarters?). This "urgent" lawsuit was filed by lawyer Samir Sabry against Interim President Adly Mansour, former Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi, and Minister of the Interior Mohamed Ibrahim, urgently demanding them to consider Hamas a "terrorist organisation". The lawsuit pointed out that "Hamas was established as an Islamic resistance movement in Palestine, but transformed into a terrorist organisation after adopting the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood."
Of course, this "judicial" order has nothing to do with legal order, as it is obviously a political issue and has been filed for internal reasons that have no value on an international level. According to Sabah Al-Mukhtar, president of the Arab Lawyers Association in the UK, the judiciary in Egypt has been politicised for some time now, and targeting Hamas, and the Muslim Brotherhood before them, confirms its politicisation.
He also said that in addition to the order "being groundless, as it is a political order that has no relation to the rule of the law, there has also been insufficient evidence for this order. Hamas is a political movement and the Egyptian governments have been dealing with it throughout its various stages and have made deals regarding the borders with the movement. In addition to this, Hamas won the 2006 elections and represents a fundamental part of the Palestinian people. All of these indications confirm that it is a political movement and not a terrorist organisation." Such facts cannot be written off by court orders.
Furthermore, as surprised as we are at this order, we are even more surprised at Fatah's position which justified this order, considering the ban on Hamas a result of its intervention in Egyptian affairs and its siding with the Muslim Brotherhood, according to a Fatah spokesperson. This spokesperson would have been better off distancing himself from this farce, as it does no good to the Egyptian government and only deepens the divisions between the Palestinians, which is being fuelled by some countries and governments who do not have these people's best interests at heart.
I will end by saying that this order is another offence going down in Egyptian history, that does not affect Hamas or its members, who consider the movement a fighting group that has fought the enemy and hurt it more than all the harm done by the Arab countries combined, including Egypt.
When Hamas emerged from amongst the people, it did not need permission from Egypt's judges or the Arab governments and its continued existence is a decision made by the Palestinian people and no one else. Only the people who embrace the movement can ban it.
This is a translation of the Arabic text published by Ad Dustour newspaper on 5 March, 2014
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.