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Hamas Riding a 'New Wind' from Egypt

Hamas is hailing the “new wind” blowing from its Egyptian neighbors, one that is strengthening the position of the terrorist group in the international arena. With bold words and actions, Hamas is celebrating the end of its international isolation and new Egyptian involvement. Says Hamas political head Khaled Meshaal, in an article for Egyptian daily Al-Ahram:

Egypt is dealing in a "new wind" with Hamas, because its responsibility now is different after the revolution. … We are looking to Egypt now, hoping that Egypt is prepared to face the Zionist danger at the strategic level.

The “new wind” is evident in Egypt’s diplomatic strategy. After brokering the reconciliation between the two major Palestinian parties, Fatah and Hamas, Egypt has encouraged the United States to support the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state.

The Egyptian government and Hamas are also raising diplomatic ties to a whole new level. From reporting in the English-language edition of Egypt’s most popular paper:

The Gaza government’s minister of foreign affairs and planning, Mohamed Awad, has said that the Egyptian government is looking into soon reopening its office of representation in the Strip.

There are rumors of Hamas doing the same in Egypt.

Hamas has been active on the diplomatic scene as well. The group has received over $30 million for reconstructing Gaza, pledged to continue kidnapping Israeli soldiers, and has given Israel a one-year ultimatum to accept a Palestinian state on its terms. It has also refused to ever recognize or negotiate with Israel, and has “the right to resistance” -- a euphemism for terror.

It also denounced the American assassination of Osama bin Laden. Meshaal told French news agency France 24:

Concerning bin Laden everyone knows Hamas has differences from al-Qaeda ... especially (its) operations targeting civilians, but all this doesn't give the U.S. the right to kill as they please without any regard for the law and to assassinate Arabs and Muslims, blaming everything on them and accusing them of terrorism.

As Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil al-Arabi put it, Egypt wants to “open a new page with all countries in the world,” Hamas’ Gaza included. Essentially, Egypt is rewarding Hamas for refusing to renounce terror and being unrepentant about its desire to destroy Israel.

The article below quotes Hamas leader Meshaal’s expectations about what this new relationship will mean:

Al-Ahram -- Meshaal: Egypt is Dealing with Hamas in a New Wind

The president of the political bureau of the Hamas Movement, Khaled Meshaal, expressed that the breakthrough that occurred in the subject of Palestinian reconciliation was the overriding of the sensitivity of the previous Egyptian leadership and the Fatah movement.

That was indicated by the remarks of Hamas on the texts of the Egyptian paper. When this sensitivity was overcome and they listened to the remarks of the movement and reached common understandings, that achieved the reconciliation.

In his meeting with a number of Egyptian editors and journalists, Meshaal said that Egypt is dealing in a new wind with Hamas because its responsibility now is different after the revolution. He hopes to see this spirit in the negotiations with Israel, the subject of the Rafah crossing, and also in its management of enforcing the reconciliation agreement. He added that in the recovery of Egypt, we are observing its influence on us as Palestinians. Concerning the role of the previous director of Egyptian intelligence Omar Suleiman in the reconciliation, Meshaal explained that Suleiman was the one who was protecting the subject of reconciliation and he represents the Egyptian leadership. He pointed out that the Hamas movement agreed with some of the things in the previous Egyptian accord, but differed on others. He said: “We are looking to Egypt now, hoping that Egypt is prepared to face the Zionist danger at the strategic level. Tactically, it is the right of Egypt to take its time to restore its well-being and build up its economy and development, so that it lives with natural condition to be able to develop political tools."

Meshaal asserted that the Arab effort was present in the reconciliation and its caring, indicating in the same context that Syria has a role, as well as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Jordan. The Arabs collectively have had a role in the Palestinian reconciliation at different stages, in addition to Egypt, of course, which is the base and has given the biggest effort.

Meshaal stressed the need to open the Rafah crossing, the rebuilding of Gaza, protecting the Palestinian reconciliation, in addition to the tactical course which he talked about before. Today, Egypt and the support of the Arab nation can protect and provide a safety net for the Palestinian people. This is because Egypt is the mother of the Arabs, and she is the leader and pioneer. She is free and has democracy and the ability to play a pivotal role.