Palestinian flags waving in West Bank 370.
(photo credit: Reuters)
Mohamed Morsy’s victory in the Egyptian presidential election is seen by
Palestinians as a symbolic triumph for Hamas, which is an offshoot of the new
president’s Muslim Brotherhood organization.
Hamas leaders were quick to
welcome the election of Morsy, while Fatah’s representatives in the West Bank
appeared to be less enthusiastic.
Hamas leaders Ismail Haniyeh and
Mahmoud Zahar were the first to congratulate Morsy on his victory.
separate statements issued in the Gaza Strip, the two men hailed the election of
the Muslim Brotherhood candidate as an historic victory for the
Haniyeh and Zahar also expressed hope that under Morsy,
Egypt would “support the Palestinian cause and Jerusalem and lift the siege
imposed on the Gaza Strip.”
Relations between Hamas and the ousted regime
of Hosni Mubarak had been strained for many years, especially after the Islamist
movement won the Palestinian parliamentary election in January
Hamas’s relations with the ruling military council in Cairo had
also been tense.
Some Hamas leaders said that Field Marshal Mohamed
Tantawi and his generals were pursuing Mubarak’s policy of isolating the Gaza
Strip by refusing to reopen the Rafah border crossing permanently and refusing
to ease restrictions on the travel of its leaders and members.
the Palestinian people express their utmost happiness over the results [of the
election],” said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri. “We see the result as a victory
for the Egyptian revolution and an expression of the Egyptian people’s
Hamas legislators in the West Bank said in a statement that they
were hopeful that Egypt and the rest of the Arab countries would change their
attitude toward the Palestinians following the election of Morsy.
Palestinians, they said, “are in urgent need of Arab support to extract their
rights, liberate their lands, defend Jerusalem and restore the Aksa Mosque to
Hamas’s jubilation over the election of Morsy came as
supporters of the movement took to the streets in various parts of the Gaza
Strip to celebrate the results of the election.
The Islamic Jihad
organization in Gaza also welcomed Morsy’s victory and voiced hope that he would
support the Palestinian cause.
In Ramallah, the Palestinian Authority and
Fatah also congratulated Morsy on his election, saying they respect the choice
of the Egyptian people.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said
that the election was a “historic day for Arab and Egyptian
He expressed hope that the election of Morsy would serve
Palestinian interests and help put an end to the power struggle between Fatah
Over the past few years, the Egyptians have been playing a
major role in mediation efforts to end the dispute between the two rival
Palestinian parties. The efforts have thus far been partially
However, some PA and Fatah officials in the West Bank did not
hide their concern over the election of the Muslim Brotherhood
They pointed out that the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt had
always sided with Hamas in its conflict with Fatah.