Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Immutable Egypt – Gaza Bonds
By Nicola Nasser
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, July 29, 2013
Gaza will remain a matter of national security for Egypt. And
regardless of who is in charge in Gaza, Egypt will also remain a strategic
asset for Gaza, a lifeline for its people, and a mainstay of its peace and
These are the irreversible facts of the ties between
Egypt and Gaza. In other words, when Egypt sneezes, Gaza catches a cold.
Now some people are trying to drive a wedge between Gaza and Egypt, but
they will fail. Even at the lowest point of relations between Gaza and the
ousted regime of Hosni Mubarak, few challenged the fact that Gaza and Egypt
care for one another.
Today, we hear analysts in the West Bank and
Israel predicting the end of Hamas rule in Gaza, just because the Muslim
Brotherhood was ousted from power in Egypt.
To those, I wish to say
that Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood never hid their ties, were proud of
their connections, and made no secret of their cooperation. But the
political adversaries of both Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt
would have us believe that anything that befalls the Muslim Brotherhood in
Egypt will befall Hamas in Gaza, which is a massive exaggeration.
is true that the recent events in Egypt have put an end to the high hopes
Hamas had of strategic cooperation between Gaza and Egypt. It is also true
that the image of Hamas as a resistance movement has been shaken. But let’s
not believe everything the political adversaries of Hamas say. Let’s not
believe their lies, for their only aim is to undermine the Palestinian
It has to be said, however, that Hamas was optimistic
about the Arab Spring and was pleased to see like-minded governments take
over in some Arab countries. It is also true that Hamas, perhaps too
hastily, assumed that an alliance with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and its
backers in Qatar would make up for the loss of its allies in Syria and Iran.
Still, we must not forget that Hamas is a resistance movement first and
foremost. Its connections with the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt don’t change
Hemmed in by the Israelis, Hamas was always hoping for
Egypt to come to its rescue. But even during Mohamed Morsi’s presidency,
relations between Egypt and Hamas were not free from tensions and
differences. Hamas also had problems with Qatar’s view of the Arab peace
Now the adversaries of Hamas would have us think that just as
Egyptians brought down the Muslim Brotherhood, the Palestinians in Gaza
should expel Hamas from government. It is quite telling that Mahmoud Abbas
was one of the first Arab presidents to congratulate the Egyptian army on
appointing Adli Mansour as president.
Now Hamas stands accused
of interfering in Egypt’s domestic affairs. This accusation was made when
Morsi was in power and after he was removed from power. Hamas denied time
and again that it interfered in Egypt or in any other Arab countries. And
the Palestinian ambassador to Cairo, Barakat Al-Farra, said that no such
accusation was ever made by Egyptian officials.
Those who make such
allegations not only harm the Palestinians, but also may cause lasting
damage to ties between Gaza and Egypt.
I recently heard someone
claiming that the Muslim Brotherhood’s fall from grace in Egypt will weaken
Hamas to the point that makes it more amenable to Palestinian
reconciliation. This is nonsense. For one thing, the Palestinian schism
predates the Muslim Brotherhood’s accession to power in Egypt, and it has
nothing to do with Hamas-Muslim Brotherhood ties. In fact, the real reason
for the delay in reconciliation is that Mahmoud Abbas is still hoping that
US Secretary of State John Kerry will succeed in restarting peace talks with
Also, the Palestinian presidency continues to oppose any
acts of resistance in which Hamas and other Palestinian factions living in
Gaza choose to engage.
Implicating the Palestinians in Egypt’s
currently divisive scene is neither to the benefit of Palestinians nor
Egyptians. But it is good news for Israel.
This article was
submitted for publication at Al-Jazeerah but it was first published and
translated from Arabic by the Al-Ahram Weekly.
Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist based in Bir Zeit, West
Bank of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.