Fatah called on rival Palestinian group Hamas to stop “all forms of intervention” in the internal affairs of Arab countries, especially those of Egypt.
“Egypt has always been supportive of our people and our just and national cause,” said Fatah in a statement posted after a meeting of the movement’s central committee on Sunday night.
Commenting on Fatah’s statement, leading Hamas figure Mushir Al-Masry said, “Fatah should be rational and commit to facts.” He claimed that Fatah continues to make false accusations against Hamas.
“For Hamas, the national security of Egypt is as important as Palestine’s,” he said, adding, “We hope that Egypt exits the current crisis peacefully.”
Tensions between Fatah and Hamas have intensified after the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi on 3 July, following which media reports accused Hamas of involvement in Egypt’s internal strife.
On 30 July, Hamas officials blamed Fatah of running a campaign to distort the image of Hamas in Egyptian media, in a press conference in Gaza. The officials read out documents allegedly linking top Fatah officials and security apparatuses in Ramallah to the campaign.
In response, Fatah’s bureau in Egypt said that Hamas does not know who to accuse for its mistakes anymore and is holding others responsible for them. Fatah denounced the accusations as “trifle”.
Egypt-Hamas ties have become increasingly tense in recent months. New charges were brought against Morsi and other Brotherhood figures on 18 December, accusing Brotherhood leadership of taking part in a “plot” organised by a number of foreign parties including Hamas to incite “violence inside Egypt to create a state of ultimate chaos”.
Since Morsi’s ouster, Egypt has repeatedly opened and shut down the Rafah border crossing, which provides access for Gaza’s 1.7 million residents to the outside world. Individual shutdowns have often lasted for longer than a week.
Egypt’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Badr Abdelatty said earlier this month that “Egypt is studying the most appropriate ways to alleviate” the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.
Gaza has been under a land, air and sea blockade since 2007 when Hamas took over the strip. Disputes broke out between Hamas and Fatah after the former’s victory in the 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections.
Hamas has rejected ongoing peace talks between the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority and Israel. The two had agreed to come to the negotiation table in July following US diplomatic efforts, and the negotiations were required to happen within nine months.
Arab foreign ministers met in an emergency meeting in Cairo on 21 December to discuss the latest developments on the negotiation, held at the request of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. During his trip to Cairo, Abbas held talks with Interim President Adly Mansour discussing the negotiations as well as the Egypt-brokered reconciliation efforts between the two Palestinian rivals.