After Brokering Israel-Gaza Truce, Egypt to Push for Hamas-Fatah Unity

Egypt officials say President Morsi wants to take advantage of Hamas' strong position to set date for PA elections; Hamas, Islamic Jihad say they support PA's UN bid; meanwhile, Brotherhood in Egypt calls for 'jihad against Israel.'

Avi Issacharoff
Avi Issacharoff
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Avi Issacharoff
Avi Issacharoff

With a cease-fire agreement reached between Hamas and Israel, Cairo intends to push for Hamas and Fatah to resume reconciliation talks, Egyptian officials said on Thursday.

According to the officials, President Mohammed Morsi intends to bring push for internal Palestinian unity as soon as possible, to establish a transition government, and set a date for Palestinian Authority elections.

According to Palestinian officials who spoke with Haaretz, a deal was made possible in the wake of Israel's offensive in Gaza, as the position of Hamas among the Palestinian public has been strengthened in the aftermath.

Hamas fears reconciliation and elections less now, mainly because Fatah is not in as good a position. It is thought that Egypt will approach Fatah and Hamas following the meeting at the UN General Assembly over the Palestinian Authority bid for membership as a non-observer state, and after the end of elections for the leadership of the organization's political burea.

To date, there is stiff competition between the two contenders, Prime Minster Ismail Haniyeh and and the deputy political burea chief, Moussa Abu Marzouk

Although senior Egyptian officials estimate that Khaled Meshal will return to the race after the successful end, from Hamas' perspective, of cease-fire negotiations with Israel. At the same time, the first signs of a willingness for reconciliation on the part of Hamas and Islamic Jihad are also evident. The two organizations announced that they would support PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas' UN bid, slated for November 29, despite the fact that they did not support it in the past.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Guide of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, Mohammed Badei, published a statement on Thursday calling for jihad against Israel, in the wake of the Operation Pillar of Defense. "Jihad is an obligation," Badei said, adding, "The enemy knows nothing but the language of force."

"Be aware of the game of grand deception with which they depict peace accords," he said in a statement carried on the group's website and emailed to reporters.

Badei's announcement seems unusual given the cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas that was brokered by Morsi, a senior Muslim Brotherhood official, and may reflect tension between Morsi and Badei.

Hamas' Khaled Meshal with Mohammed Morsi in Cairo, Credit: AFP

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