Friday, July 20, 2012

Mashaal - Mursi Meeting May Bring Relief for Gaza

 by Craig Harrington - IMEMC & Agencies Report post
Hamas party leader Khalid Mashaal met with Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi on Wednesday evening to discuss the future of Gaza’s relationship with Egypt.
Hamas leader Khalid Mashaal
Hamas leader Khalid Mashaal
On Wednesday Hamas leader Khalid Mashaal met for nearly two hours with Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi, reports Ma’an News Agency.

The meeting, which lasted nearly twice as long as Mursi’s previous meeting with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, focused on the Egyptian-Gazan relationship. Many believe that the two leaders share intrinsic camaraderie due to their Islamist political ties – Hamas is in fact a branch of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.

Even if Egypt wanted to approach Hamas with the best intentions it still faces many obstacles thanks to the Palestinian group’s international recognition as a terrorist organization. Egypt was one of the foremost anti-terror partners in the Middle East under President Hosni Mubarak and it joined forces with Israel in sealing-off Gaza in 2007.

Mursi is facing domestic pressure to lift the Gaza blockade and begin sending relief to its embattled residents in the form of food and fuel, reports Ma’an News. Removing these sanctions may not be immediately possible given Egypt’s commitment to peace with Israel and the continuation of Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip.

At present the Mursi administration is primarily focused on providing mediation within the factionalized Palestinian political community. Both Mashaal (Hamas) and Abbas (Fatah) requested that Mursi take part in organizing a dialogue for a unity-government in Palestine. Multiple news agencies have reported that pursuing this end will likely take precedence over any sweeping Egyptian policy changes addressing Gaza specifically.
International Middle East Media Center