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Ex-Egypt envoy: Officials in Cairo seek to damage agreement with Hamas

August 29, 2017 at 11:42 am

Former Egyptian Ambassador to the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Fahmy yesterday criticised his country’s policy towards the Gaza Strip, the abduction of a Palestinian pilgrim and the refusal to allow 17 others to travel to the Hajj.

In an interview with Al-Resalah newspaper, Fahmy said: “The abduction of someone in Egypt defames out army and reflects a feeling that it is unable to protect a convoy of pilgrims. Such a smear happened when the four Palestinians were abducted in Egypt [two years ago].”

Fahmy said this behaviour “damages” the relationship with Gaza and this “is not in the interest of Egypt” and raises concerns that there are “internal sides seeking to damage the latest understandings with Hamas”.

Regarding the Rafah crossing, he said: “Some claim that it is closed under the pretext that safety of travellers is not guaranteed. This is the worst abuse that our big army cannot protect a number of travellers till they arrive in Cairo Airport.”

He added: “I hope that what I have heard is false news. I cannot accept the abuse that our big army is unable to protect a number of travellers. I hope that the understandings [with Hamas] go ahead and do not stop.”

Read: Hamas reinforces presence near Rafah Crossing

The ambassador, who was Egypt’s first envoy the Palestinian Authority, said that the Rafah crossing has not opened for more than 20 days this year, noting there are hundreds of patients, students and others who are in urgent need to travel.


He stressed that Hamas, which controls Gaza, is not a “penetrative power” and cannot succeed in fighting terror without Egypt’s assistance, noting that it already succeeded when Egypt assisted it.

He said that Hamas’ success and maintaining good relations with the movement is an Egyptian interest that “must not be ignored”.

There were reports that Egypt would keep the Rafah crossing open after pilgrims made their way through it heading to Saudi Arabia to complete the Hajj, however it was closed once again after being opened on exceptional grounds for four days earlier this month.