Hamas-Cairo Connection Must Be Enforced

30 Dec 2011

By Khalid Amayreh

Ismael Haniya's visit to Cairo is undoubtedly a right step, occurring at the right time and going in the right direction.

For years, Haniya and other Palestinian Islamist leaders, many of them elected by their own people in free and fair elections, were treated as personas non-grata by the defunct Egyptian regime of Husni Mubarak.

Not only that. The ex-president said nothing and did nothing as Israel sought to decapitate the Gaza Strip three years ago when the apartheid Zionist regime launched its genocidal blitzkrieg on the virtually-unprotected coastal enclave, killing, maiming and incinerating thousands of men, women and children.

Adding insult to injury and in order to receive a certificate of good conduct from Israel and her guardian-ally, the United States, the Mubarak regime consolidated and tightened the manifestly criminal siege on the Gaza Strip, leaving the 1.6 million Gaza inhabitants to their fate.

Now, all of this has changed thanks to the great Egyptian revolution which ousted Mubark and sent him to jail where he should belong for the rest of his life. Which really gives us the hope that a new chapter of relations between Egypt and the Palestinians will be opened.

The opening of this chapter will be necessary if the Egyptian revolution is to acquire wider Islamist legitimacy and if true democracy is to be allowed to prosper in a country of more than 80 million who have grown up, watching a Hitlerian Israel murder, savage and humiliate their brethren in Palestine.

Haniya held gorgeous meetings with many Egyptian dignitaries as well as the Secretary-General of the Arab League, Nabil al-Arabi.

The elected Palestinian prime minister also had a fruitful and cordial meeting with the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood who's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) has scored landslide victories in the two stages of the ongoing Egyptian elections.

Hamas is ideologically affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. Hence, the ascendancy of the Brotherhood to influence and power in Cairo is likely to help the Palestinians get rid of their erstwhile orphan status, which enabled a notoriously Gestapo-minded Israel to gang up on them anytime it wishes, with or without a reason.

I don't think brother Haniya needs to be elaborative or exhaustive in explaining to the Egyptian brothers the situation in the Gaza Strip and the unrelenting Nazi-like campaign of terror, murder and economic strangulation the Zionist regime and its criminal allies are carrying out against the thoroughly tormented people of Gaza.

The steadfastness of Gazans is more than legendary. It actually transcends reality.

I believe the Egyptian Muslim Brothers are fully aware of the overall situation in Palestine. And they don't need anyone to explain to them the suffering and dire human conditions facing most Palestinians.

What they need instead is a practical prioritizing strategy to enable them to help the Palestinian people and their just cause more effectively while taking into account objective political realities in Egypt and the region.

The Muslim Brotherhood is not going to be at Hamas's beck and call. And I don't think that Hamas envisages such a possibility. In the final analysis, relations between Islamic movements and countries are not conducted in this way.

Non the less, the ascendancy of the Islamists to power, either partially or fully, is undoubtedly a development of paramount strategic importance that must be fully utilized in order to rectify the scandalously oblique balance vis--vis Israel.

It is true that Egypt is suffering from immense social and economic problems at the home front, which means that the country can't devote all or most of its energies to the Palestinian issue.

However, the new Egypt will have to demonstrate to Israel that a new strategic situation is already taking place in the region, thanks to the Arab Spring, and that Egypt will no longer tolerate the Nazi-like treatment meted out to the Palestinians.

Egypt, and that is very important, should create a real linkage between its own commitment to the Camp David Peace Treaty with Israel on the one hand and Israeli behavior toward the Palestinians on the other.

After all, all aspects of Israeli policies and behaviors are squarely incompatible with the stipulations of the hapless peace treaty, including the scandalous settlement expansion, the unmitigated Judaizing of East Jerusalem as well as the effective killing of the two-state- solution possibility.

Apart from this, Egypt is demanded to play the role of "Big Brother" for the Palestinian cause. Indeed, there is a whole lot of issues that can be tackled in this regard ranging from revoking travel restrictions to allowing for unfettered travel from and to the Gaza Strip via the Rafah border terminal.

Egypt should also help the Palestinians, especially in the Gaza Strip, deliver themselves from the humiliating dependence on Israel for their power and fuel consumptions. We saw over the years the cruel and sadistic use of fuel and electricity supplies from Israel to the Gaza Strip whereby Israel resorted on many occasions to cutting off these supplies for political consideration and in order to torment and humiliate the Palestinians.

In short, an Islamist-led Egypt would have to tell Israel, straight in the eyes, that there cannot be "business as usual" with the Jewish state if the Palestinians continue to be savaged and brutalized and pushed to the corner.

Needless to say, one of the immediate priorities in this regard must be the lifting of the 4-year-siege on Gaza. The people of Gaza have suffered too much and for too long as a result of this barbarity.



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