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Experts predict better Hamas-Egypt ties following court decision

June 7, 2015 at 11:55 am

Palestinian political analysts welcomed an Egyptian court’s decision to annul a lower court’s ruling that labeled Hamas a terrorist organisation, calling it an important political step that will have positive repercussions on the Gaza Strip.

Taiseer Mheisen, a political analyst and writer for a number of Palestinian newspapers, said this was an important development that would alleviate the suffering of the Gaza Strip’s population.

“This decision will have positive effects on the issue of the Rafah crossing, which may now be open on a weekly basis,” he said.

The Rafah crossing is located on the Egypt-Gaza border, and has been almost totally shut down over the past year, causing extreme difficulty for the residents of Gaza.

Hassan Abdo, a political analyst for the non-governmental Center for Palestine Research and Studies, believes the decision may establish good relations between Egypt and Hamas.

This prediction was echoed by Osama Hamdan, a senior Hamas leader, during a television interview on Saturday.

“The movement [Hamas] recently met with a high-level Egyptian official and the two sides stressed the need to improve bilateral ties,” he said

Hamdan did not disclose the identity of the Egyptian official.

Hani Habib, a political writer for the Ayyam newspaper which is issued from Ramallah in the West Bank, also believes that the Egyptian court’s decision could establish a new period of bilateral relations between Egypt and Hamas.

“Hamas is Gaza for the Egyptians, and any improvement [in relations] with it means that the humanitarian situation could see a breakthrough, especially with regard to the Rafah border crossing,” he said.

On Feb. 28, a lower Egyptian court designated Hamas as a “terrorist” organisation over claims that the group had carried out terrorist attacks in Egypt through tunnels linking the Sinai Peninsula to the Gaza Strip.

The final verdict to overturn the original decision was issued by an Egyptian appellate court Saturday