Hamas's Haniyeh enters Egypt through Rafah 370.
(photo credit: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters)
Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh reiterated on Sunday his government’s
readiness to activate “security cooperation” with Egypt to protect their shared
borders, common interests and security.
He spoke first to thousands of
worshipers attending an Id al- Fitr prayer service at Palestine Stadium in Gaza
City, and again by telephone to Egyptian President Mohamed
Coordination should be between brothers and not enemies, Haniyeh
“Yes, we want security coordination with our brothers and
strategic depth [in Egypt] and not with the Zionist enemy,” he said, voicing his
criticism against the security coordination between the Palestinian Authority
In his sermon, the head of the Hamas de facto government
spoke about the strong relationship between Egypt and the Gaza Strip displayed
in the effort to contain the aftermath of the recent deadly attacks within
Haniyeh vowed that Gaza will not be a source of threat
to Egyptians, but a source of stability to Egypt, Sinai, Rafah and El-
His remarks come after an attack on August 5 claimed the lives of
16 Egyptian border guards
. Israeli security sources said the attackers captured two armored
vehicles in Sinai to storm the Israeli border crossing of Kerem
One of the vehicles made it through the border crossing before
the attackers were killed by Israeli fire.
No one has claimed
responsibility for the one of deadliest attacks in that area in
Following the attack, the Egyptian Army launched a security
campaign against Islamist militants in Sinai. The campaign included shutting the
borders with Gaza and sealing the smuggling tunnels linking Sinai to the Gaza
strip, as Egyptian officials held jihadis – infiltrated from Gaza – accountable
for the attack.
In an unexpected public announcement, the PA supported
Egypt’s campaign to seal all tunnels beneath its border with Gaza. Secretary to
the PA Presidency Tayyib Abdul-Rahim said the tunnels only benefit a small
minority and pose a threat to Egyptian national security.
excluded a Palestinian hand in the attack and said investigations have not
uncovered proof that Gaza is connected to the incident.
Haniyeh described the attack as a “heinous crime,” adding that Egyptians and
Palestinians share the same blood and pain. “Your [Egyptian] stability
represents the stability of the Arab and Islamic nation,” the website of the
Filastin newspaper quoted Haniyeh as saying.
Haniyeh also expressed
Hamas’s concern to avoid engaging the new Egyptian regime and revolution in
trivial disputes, adding that this would alienate Cairo from the Palestinian
cause. He claimed media outlets seek to harm the new and developing relations
between the Egyptians and Palestinians.
Observers have expected the close
relations between Morsy’s Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas in Gaza to ease the
blockade on the Strip. However, the Rafah border crossing between Sinai and Gaza
has been closed since the attack, and opens only occasionally for humanitarian
cases and holders of foreign visas and passports.
Morsy phoned Haniyeh on
Sunday in honor of the Id al- Fitr feast and told him Egypt would stand by Gaza,
and that Egypt and the Palestinians were “on the same side,” according to Hamas
Haniyeh expressed gratitude for Egypt’s support, and
confirmed the importance of joint security cooperation.
He denied any
Gazan plans for settlement in Sinai. “Egypt is for the Egyptians and Palestine
for the Palestinians,” he said to the crowd, confirming that Palestinians are
deeply rooted in their land and averse to emigration and settlement (for
In his sermon on Sunday, Haniyeh saluted the
steadfastness of Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails. He assured his audience
that the “resistance” is determined to free the rest of the Palestinian
prisoners from Israeli jails. Palestinians freed in the Gilad Schalit deal last
year were in attendance and greeted Haniyeh after he finished
Haniyeh expressed his appreciation for the crowds of worshipers
who came to al-Aksa Mosque on the Temple Mount during Ramadan, saying their
presence at the holy site confirms and strengthens the Palestinian sense of
belonging to Jerusalem.
“It’s a message to the enemy that no one from the
Palestinian people will accept your occupation... Jerusalem is ours and the land
is ours,” he assured the masses.
Haniyeh said the Palestinians in the
diaspora and the refugee camps are waiting for the time to return to their land
from which they were displaced, and concluded his speech by saying “We will
march to our Jerusalem, al- Aksa and homes.”
He made no reference in his
speech to the stalled reconciliation process between Fatah and Hamas.