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Hamas in Cairo for Gaza talks

US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and Tony Blair visit Cairo in attempt to further talks on Gaza

Israeli forces destroyed houses in Gaza. (Handout from the Palestinian Ministry of Interior)
Israeli forces destroyed houses in Gaza.
(Handout from the Palestinian Ministry of Interior)

Hamas representatives arrived in Cairo on Sunday as part of a cross-faction Palestinian delegation for talks on the situation in the Gaza Strip.

United States Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and Envoy of the Quartet on the Middle East Tony Blair were also both expected to travel to Cairo on Saturday in attempts to secure a ceasefire between Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip and Israel, according to state media.

Egypt issued an invitation to the Palestinians and Israelis as part of a US and United Nations sponsored 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire deal. The pause lasted less than three hours before the fighting resumed, despite this Egypt’s foreign ministry insisted that the invitation to Cairo was still valid.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas assembled a 12 strong delegation to travel to Cairo, including five PA members, five Hamas members and two members of Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Mohamed Gomaa, an expert on Palestine Affairs from Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies, believes the Hamas representatives have come to Cairo very late. The Israeli military operation began on 7 July, which means that the delegation has come on day 28 of fighting.

Gomaa said the delay is owed to a “series of failures and failed attempts inside Hamas”. He said there were disagreements within the group about who would represent it inside Egypt. “The Palestinians have come late. If they had accepted the Egyptian inititative in the first week, we would have come a long way,” Gomaa said.

Relations between Egypt and Hamas have been strained since last summer’s ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood in which Hamas has its roots. In March this year an Egyptian court banned the activities of Hamas inside Egypt. Hamas says it was not officially approached to participate in Egypt’s ceasefire agreement, which was proposed on 14 July.

Head of the Hamas political bureau Khaled Meshaal told CNN on Saturday that the group informed US Secretary of State John Kerry, via the Qatari foreign minister Khalid Al-Attiyah, that the presence of Israeli troops in the Gaza Strip as part of a ceasefire is “unacceptable”.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stressed on Saturday that the Israeli operation in Gaza would continue “with full strength in order to complete the goals of the operation”. Netanyahu said the goal is to “restore quiet and security for a lengthy period for Israeli citizens and inflict significant damage on terrorist infrastructure”.

Gomaa believes that Israel is now using time to make political gains by either ending the fighting with a “unilateral ceasefire or a United Nations Security Council decision”. He added that Israel is not at this point concerned with signing a deal with Hamas.

Hamas has stressed that it would not accept a ceasefire that did not include the lifting of the air land and sea blockade on the Gaza Strip, which has been enforced by Israel since 2007, with Egypt controlling the southern border.

Al-Attiyah met with his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu in Ankara on Sunday where the pair spoke with Kerry as part of their meeting. Turkey and Qatar are seen to have some influence over Hamas, with Qatar currently playing host to its leadership including Meshaal.

Gomaa said what happens next depends on the Palestinian factions and how much they maintain consensus between them. “If this does not happen, Hamas will get a lesser agreement than that of 2012,” he added.

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  • Richard Barnes

    I would hope that after all of this fighting that a few things are clear. One: is that Hamas means it when they say they will not recognize a Jewish state of Israel and two: that they will not stop fighting at all, so it appears to be necessary for Israel to destroy both the tunnels and the rockets and missiles to the point that Hamas has nothing left or only about 10% of the ability that they had at the start of the conflict. Then Israel can discuss with Egypt How they are going to work together to ensure that Hamas will not easily re-arm. The only thing that Israel really needs to discuss with the UN is how they are going to control all of the money used to rebuild lost homes and infrastructure in Gaza. I would not allow them to GIVE any money to Hamas or to the PA. Some of it will doubtlessly be siphoned off for tunnels and weapons again. If this can be done then Hamas will fire fewer rockets because they cannot replace many of them and Gaza will get back on it’s feet again. A win for Israel in this is a win for the Gazan’s. Maybe the next time they go to the polls the UN will monitor the elections and the people will remember being drug up onto roof tops by Hamas and think better of whom they trust to run their country. Hopefully the patience created by an empty stomach will rule over the hatred of a miss-lead heart. That being said the Bible predicted this time would come. I have known what Hal Lindsey has been saying was true for years. That in the end times the US would fade from world power as Russia, China and Iran’s power increased. These wars, earth quakes etc, are all happening at the same time in history was predicted for the end times. I wrote a book that discusses some of the prophecies written about in the Bible. It’s a short read of 6 or 7 pages and it’s totally free. I hope you will have a look: http://www.booksie.com/religion_and_spirituality/book/richard_b_barnes/after-the-rapture-whats-next

  • Joe Santoro

    I don’t think Netanyahu is in any hurry to come to any agreement or accomodation with Hamas, nor should they. Israel should just ignore Hamas, conitbue on as they have been and not give Hamas a single one of their “demands”. I can’t understand why after Egypt’s past experience and history with the MB that they would host their little brother Hamas let alone trust their word to live up to any agreement. Hamas had obviously hoped to avoid any Egyptian led ceasefire effort having shown they much preferred their sponsor Qatar and Turkey. Having Erdogan as an honest broker between Hamas and Israel would be like having Vladimir Putin broker a deal between the Ukraine and the Russian sepratists.

  • rado

    Sisi has betrayed palestinians. He is a zionist spy.

    • Hate MB

      Your stupid!! And you know nothing!

      • rado

        You are a terrorist, because you support the state terrorism. You support a dictator. Egyptians have no fear. The dictatorship will fail.

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