Reports have emerged that a Hamas delegation led by Ismail Haniya, head of the group’s political bureau, has been meeting with Egyptian officials in Cairo since Sunday and that the meetings are expected to continue over the next few days.
A Hamas source said the delegation arrived from Doha and the talks are a sign of “awareness on both sides” that establishing a better communication with Cairo is the only alternative to ending the tension between them. The source added that the “positive relationship” between Hamas and the Egyptian government is increasing.
Haniya, whose last official visit to Egypt dates back to 2013 when Mohammed Morsi was President, hinted that major issues are expected to be discussed.
Morsi was a strong supporter of the Palestinian Cause until his ousting by Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in a military-backed coup d’état. The resulting tension that marked Cairo’s relations with Hamas climaxed when an Egyptian court ruled in 2015 that the Gaza-based Hamas movement was a terrorist group and interferes in Egyptian domestic affairs.
Hamas refuted such claims and alleged that the ruling was “politically motivated” and a “dangerous” decision that supports the Israeli occupation. The ruling was reversed in June, before the same court froze Hamas’ assets and ordered the seizure of the organization’s Cairo offices.
“We fully understand the conditions Egypt is going through and are also concerned about the security of the Egyptian state, so there is no need for conflict,” the Hamas source commented.
Meanwhile, Israeli forces claimed they were targeted by gun shots during “routine activities” near the security fence with Gaza and said they retaliated by shelling and destroying a Hamas position, although no group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
President Sisi’s administration could be on the verge of facing a political challenge in the parliament after opposition figures revealed plans to form a new “National Assembly” by unifying their forces against him with the support of some Gulf States.