A senior leader in the ruling authority of the Gaza Strip, Hamas, Mahmoud Al-Zahar said they are seeking better relations with the Egyptian government, in a seminar held in Gaza on Sunday.
The seminar was held by the non-governmental Centre for Political and Development Studies in Gaza. It witnessed a large turnout of politicians and media personnel, as well as university students, to discuss the paradoxes of the Egyptian and European stance towards Hamas, local Palestinian press reported.
Al-Zahar said in his speech that despite the Egyptian accusations towards Hamas and its armed resistance wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, of committing violent acts in Cairo, the official Egyptian Intelligence Authority does not have any records proving such activities.
The prosecutions in the trial for killing protesters during the 25 January Revolution accused Hamas of allegedly killing protesters during the mass protests, during the re-trial hearing sessions. Meanwhile, former president Mohamed Morsi and other senior leaders in the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood group are currently being tried for espionage with Hamas and Qatar during their role.
According to Al-Zahar: “In a meeting held with Egyptian intelligence officials in September 2014, no records were found for Hamas committing any security violations in Egypt, and especially in Sinai.”
On 28 February, the Cairo Court for Urgent Matters designated Hamas a “terrorist organisation”. The verdict sparked angry reactions from the Palestinian side. However, the Supreme Court of Justice appealed the verdict on Wednesday.
In response to the appeal, Al-Zahar noted that “Hamas’ stance towards Egypt depends on the appeal result, and consequently we hope have a fresh start with any Egyptian government regardless of its affiliations”.
He added that he does not believe Egypt will launch any air strikes against Gaza, but if it does there will be an equal response. “We will not allow any kind of assault,” he said.
In August 2014, Israel waged a 50-day war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip in a military operation that killed and destroyed the homes of thousands of families. Hamas in response killed about 88 israeli soldiers and six civilians, according to the Israel Defence Forces (IDF).
The General Court of the European Union lifted Hamas from the list of European terror groups in December 2014. However, some members of the European Union are reportedly planning to appeal the court decision.
“Closing the borders, banning the construction of airports, and killing the civilians, are the real acts of terrorism,” Al-Zahar said, referring to Israel’s attacks on Palestinians.
“Building tunnels to counter those terrorist acts and fight armed soldiers, not civilians is our right to defend ourselves,” he said.