Sayyida Zainab mosque in Cairo 311.
(photo credit: Reuters)
Israel is the biggest loser from the strong showing of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Egyptian parliamentary election, Hamed Bitawi, a top Hamas representative in the West Bank, said on Saturday.
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Bitawi’s comment came as Hamas expressed relief over the Muslim Brotherhood victory.
The Muslim Brotherhood triumphs in Egyptian, Tunisian and Moroccan elections come on the eve of preparations for celebrations to mark the 24th anniversary of Hamas’s founding in the Gaza Strip.
Hamas supporters said that the rise of their political allies to power in the Arab world was “the biggest birthday gift for Hamas” on the anniversary of its establishment.
They said that in addition to Israel, the Palestinian Authority leadership also stands to lose from the results of the elections in the Arab world.
Hamas leaders expressed hope that Egypt’s policy toward their movement in particular and the Israeli-Arab conflict in general would change for the better in wake of the Muslim Brotherhood’s success.
Bitawi said that Hamas was not surprised by the Muslim Brotherhood gains in the election, “especially in light of the suffering of the Muslims over the past decades at the hands of the dictatorial regimes.” He praised the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood for saying that they were in favor of reconsidering the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.
The Quds Press news agency quoted Bitawi as also hailing the Muslim Brotherhood’s stance against the blockade on the Gaza Strip.
“Israel is the biggest loser in these elections,” he said.
Earlier this year, Hamas welcomed the downfall of Hosni Mubarak’s regime, which it had considered hostile toward the movement.
Hamas leaders had accused Mubarak’s regime of participating in the blockade on the Gaza Strip by refusing to reopen the Rafah border crossing with Sinai.
The new military regime in Cairo has been more friendly toward Hamas. The Rafah terminal has been reopened and Hamas members have been released from Egyptian prisons.
Moreover, Hamas leaders have since been welcome in Egypt as VIP guests – much to the dismay of the PA leadership.
Hamas hopes that a strong presence of the Muslim Brotherhood in parliament and perhaps in government would bring about a complete change in Egypt’s policy toward the Palestinians, said a Gaza-based academic.
“Hamas is a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and any victory for the Muslim Brotherhood is a victory for Hamas and the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip,” he told The Jerusalem Post.
Musa Abu Marzouk, deputy chairman of the Hamas political bureau, was quoted over the weekend as saying that the victory of Islamic groups in the Egyptian parliamentary election would help the Palestinians.
“With the victory of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt will return to its original role of fully supporting the Palestinian cause,” Abu Marzouk said. “This serves the interests of Hamas and the Palestinians.”
Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman in the Gaza Strip, said that his movement was encouraged by the rise of Muslim Brotherhood supporters to power not only in Egypt, but also in Tunisia and Morocco.
Barhoum said that the results of the elections in these countries would strengthen Hamas in the face of Israeli, American and European efforts to isolate the movement.