The decision to “strengthen ties with Hamas” bears troubling implications despite the “anti-Islamic State campaign” excuse, particularly regarding Egypt’s relations with Israel. Egypt’s strengthening of relations with Hamas suggests that Egypt is heading in a direction opposite to the one that President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi indicated when he called for Islamic reform. It is also significant to note that al-Sisi once suggested that “the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood could again play a role in public life if Egyptians wanted a return of the grouping he currently classifies as terrorist.” Hamas styles itself as the Muslim Brotherhood for Palestine.
Three years ago, the Egyptian media linked Hamas to the Arab Spring:
Egypt’s former interior minister floated the suggestion that Hamas had a hand in fomenting unrest during the revolution, which saw the overthrow of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and the subsequent election of a Muslim Brotherhood-linked government.
The new Egyptian-Hamas rapprochement is bad news for the West.
“EXCLUSIVE – Source: Egypt Strengthens Ties with Hamas Following Terror Group’s Anti-Islamic State Campaign”, by Ali Waked, Breitbart News, December 19, 2016:
Relations between Egypt and Hamas are on track to go back to normal as the movement complied with Cairo’s demands to clamp down on Salafi jihadists, a senior official in Gaza told Breitbart Jerusalem.
Egypt has been warming to Hamas over the last few weeks as details of intense military action against Sinai-bound Islamic subversion have emerged, including many arrests.
In return, Egyptian authorities have started renovating the Rafah border crossing for reopening and allowed limited access for several days.
On Saturday, Egypt allowed 40 vehicles into the Gaza Strip. The official said that Egypt and Hamas have agreed on a large-scale development plan for the crossing, which will include the construction of commercial and industrial sections on both sides of the border. He added that at Egypt’s behest, several private businessmen are involved in the project.
The official added that a joint Egypt-Hamas committee has started debating a gradual alleviation of the siege on Gaza which, according to the official, signals a strategic overhaul in Cairo.
“Surprisingly, unlike in previous rounds, we weren’t under the impression that the Egyptians insist on including the Palestinian Authority and [President] Mahmoud Abbas in the process,” he said. “They probably realize that it’s futile to try to impose large-scale and far-reaching diplomatic measures on Hamas while the siege plays into the hands of Islamic State and its loyalists.”
As part of the thaw between Cairo and Gaza, Hamas has arrested 480 jihadists, a Salafi source said.
Despite the PA’s absence from the discussions, the official said, “We are convinced that Israel is in the loop and hope that Egypt’s efforts will affect the siege imposed by Israel too……