A Hamas Delegation Expected to Visit Cairo to Resume Talks on Reconciliation

A delegation of the Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas is expected to visit Cairo the coming days. Palestinian reconciliation talks will be the top agenda as well as talks on Gaza Strip and Egypt’s shared border.

Hamas delegation will be joined for the first time by representatives of the movement’s military wing, the al-Qassam Brigades, to travel to Cairo through the Rafah border crossing, according to an Egyptian security force who preferred to remain anonymous.

The meeting between both parties is reported to be the final phase of ongoing reconciliation efforts between Egypt and the Gaza Strip’s rulers, amid a “clear desire by the Palestinian side to end the division without any external intervention, and move towards forming a Palestinian national unity government,” the Egyptian security source said.

Since the ouster of the first democratically-elected President Mohammed Morsi by a military coup in July 2013, Hamas has suffered poor relations with the Egyptian government due to their close links with Muslim Brotherhood. The Egyptian government has accused Hamas of assisting the insurgency that has spread throughout the Sinai Peninsula, although Hamas has strongly denied the allegations. Meanwhile, Egypt has upheld an Israeli military blockade on the Gaza Strip for the majority of the past three years. The nearly nine-year Israeli blockade has plunged the Gaza Strip’s more than 1.8 million Palestinians into poverty.

However, Hamas delegation’s visit to Cairo on March 12 may have brought back some hope that a new page of bilateral relations between the two parties will be opened. In a May 17 statement by its spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamas welcomed the recent Egyptian statements about reconciliation with the movement and confirmed its readiness to deal with these efforts calling for ending the Palestinian division and opening a new page with Egypt. In addition, the Hamas official Ismail Radwan has applauded Egyptian peace efforts and also underscored hopes of an Egyptian support to Palestinians toward a political reconciliation.

Al-Sisi has stated in his latest speech at the launch of infrastructure projects in Assiut that Egypt is ready to play a major role in Palestinian reconciliation. He said, “I say to our Palestinian brothers, you must unite the different factions in order to achieve reconciliation, and quickly. We, as Egypt, are prepared to take on this role. It is a real opportunity to find a long-awaited solution.” Al-Sisi considered that achieving reconciliation between the Palestinian factions will be a first step toward achieving peace negotiations with Israel.

In the same context, Cairo has received delegations from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), and from the Palestinian Popular Resistance Movement (PPRM).