Egypt is moving closer to offering concessions on trade and free movement to Hamas, Reuters reported officials saying.
“We want cooperation in controlling the borders and tunnels, the handover of perpetrators of armed attacks and a boycott of the Muslim Brotherhood. They want the crossing to be opened and more trade,” one senior Egyptian security source said.
“This has actually begun, but in a partial way. We hope it will continue.”
“If we compare it with a year ago, the situation or the relationship is better but it is not yet what is needed,” Mahmoud Al-Zahar, a senior Hamas official, told Reuters.“The needs of our people are great, their need to travel, pursue education or treatment, attend to their businesses and families abroad, and also the need for open trade with Egypt.”
Egypt has been at odds with Hamas since the ouster of the country’s first freely elected President Mohamed Morsi in 2013 in a military coup which saw President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi rise to power and outlaw his predecessor’s party, the Muslim Brotherhood.
At the end of last month, a Hamas security delegation visited Cairo to build on agreements made by its Deputy Political Bureau Chief Ismail Haniyeh during his visit earlier in January.“The situation now is returning to normal,” Elazb Al-Tayeb Taher, writer on Arab affairs at Egypt’s state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper, said.
“Egyptian intelligence is restoring its relationship with Hamas in accordance with certain guidelines, chief among them being that Hamas does not become a major gateway for threats from Gaza targeting Egypt’s national security.”