Senior Hamas leader Khalil al-Hayya..
(photo credit: screenshot)
At a prayer service marking the beginning of Eid al-Fitr, Deputy Hamas Gaza Chief Khalil al-Hayya urged feuding Arab states to resolve their differences.
Hayya, a member of the Hamas Politburo, said he hopes “all disputes between our brothers will end on the basis of brotherhood and the [Arab and Islamic] nation’s interests in confronting the Zionist enemy.”
A coalition of Arab states led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have been at loggerheads with Qatar over the past three weeks. The coalition has accused Qatar of maintaining close ties with Iran and funding extremist groups.
Hamas, which relies heavily on Qatar’s financial and logistical support, is concerned that the coalition of Arab states could pressure the small Gulf state to reduce or cut off the assistance.
Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir told reporters in Paris earlier this month that Qatar needs to stop supporting “extremist groups” like Hamas. However, a list of demands presented to Qatar did not explicitly reference the group.
Hayya, who was speaking in the presence of Hamas Politburo Chief Ismail Haniyeh, also thanked Egypt for welcoming Hamas leaders in Cairo two weeks ago.
“We knocked on the door of our brothers in Egypt and we found a large open door and great warm embrace,” Hayya said. “We say Egypt, thank you oh Egypt.”
Egypt imposes a stringent blockade on Gaza, but last week opened the Rafah crossing to allow much needed diesel fuel to enter the Strip.
Gaza has been undergoing an acute power crisis with as little as three to four hours of electricity available daily.
But, after Egypt permitted the arrival of more than 1 million liters of fuel, the crisis was temporarily eased.
Hayya added that he is “reassured by Egypt’s promise that it will not permit Gaza to remain under an oppressive blockade.”
“[Egypt] will extend its good hand to eliminate and break the siege,” the Hamas leader remarked.
Egypt has hosted delegations of Hamas leaders in Cairo previously and subsequently opened the Rafah crossing for a limited number of days.
It is not clear whether Egypt will undertake additional steps to improve the dire economic situation in Gaza, but speculation is rife that self-exiled Fatah leader Mohammad Dahlan is pushing Egyptian authorities to lighten the Strip’s economic burden.
According to a report in the Palestinian news agency Maan, Dahlan-ally Sufian Abu Zaida said Dahlan plans to visit Gaza in the near future.