Hamas cuts deals with Egypt, Israel as tensions with Palestinian Authority simmers

Special to WorldTribune.com

Officials said Hamas is reaching out to Egypt and Israel as it can no longer rely on the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank for much-needed funding.

As icy relations between the two main Palestinian factions have not thawed, Hamas has struck out on its own seeking accommodation with unlikely powers.

On June 13, Egyptian government has opened its Gaza Strip border crossing at Rafah for one week, allowing thousands of Palestinians who had been stranded in Egypt for months to return home.

Egypt-Gaza border crossing at Rafah.
Egypt-Gaza border crossing at Rafah.

Officials said the border will be opened again for three days on June 23.

In another sign of improving relations, Egypt is allowing 8,000 tons of cement into Gaza. Cairo had prohibited cement from being imported into Gaza out of fear it would be used to build smuggling tunnels.

There are also reports that Hamas is in negotiations with Israel to extend a truce and ease restrictions on Gaza.

An Israeli source confirmed the discussions, according to AFP.

“There are contacts with Egypt and other elements over an easing of the blockade and the entry of materials to Gaza in exchange for quiet,” the source said.

“But Hamas is finding it difficult to control Islamic Jihad and other elements in order to do this.”

Islamic Jihad and other jihadist groups who are challenging Hamas’ rule in Gaza have launched several recent rocket attacks on Israel.

“There is some fear that we will have a separate state in Gaza,” said Sameer Abumdallala, an economics lecturer at Al-Azhar University in Gaza. “This is dangerous to the national Palestinian project.”

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