Wed, March 23, 2011 | The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center
Hamas Seeks to Improve Relations with the New Egyptian Regime
The de facto Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip continues its efforts to improve relations with the new regime in Egypt. According to a senior Hamas figure, whose name was not mentioned, since the change of regimes there have been intensive contacts between Egypt and Hamas (Agence France-Presse, March 14, 2011).
Ismail Haniya, head of the de facto administration, Khaled Mashaal, head of the Hamas political bureau in Damascus and Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior Hamas figure in the Gaza Strip have held telephone conversations with Nabil al-Arabi, the new Egyptian foreign minister (Al-Yawm Al-Saba’a, March 21, 2011).
In addition, ministers in the de facto Hamas administration have been in contact with their opposite numbers in Egypt concerning a variety of local issues (health, ecology, infrastructure) (websites of the Hamas administration ministries, March 17, 2011).
Hamas is also trying to arrange a meeting for a delegation of senior movement members with the heads of the new regime in Egypt. Mahmoud al-Zahar, currently head of the delegation to Sudan, may head it (Al-Shuruq, March 9, 2011).
In addition, on March 22 a high-level Hamas delegation is expected to go through Egypt on their way to Damascus. While in Egypt its members may meet with senior Egyptian figures (Al-Hayat, March 22, 2011).
Hamas’ efforts aimed at improving relations with the new Egyptian regime have fallen on willing ears. A senior Egyptian figure, who requested anonymity, said that Egypt and the Hamas administration were turning over a new leaf and that ministers of the new regime were critical of Mubarak’s treatment of the Gaza Strip, especially concerning the issue of the Rafah crossing. He said that future Muslim Brotherhood participation in the new Egyptian regime would provide leverage to influence Hamas (Agence France-Presse, March 14, 2011).