Hamas Delegation From Gaza Heads to Cairo for Talks With Egyptian Intelligence

Official close to Hamas leadership says talks will be devoted to preventing escalation and a direct confrontation with Israel

Hamas Chief Ismail Haniyeh (R) shakes hands with Hamas Deputy Chief Saleh al-Arouri (L), in Gaza City August 2, 2018.
Handout via REUTERS

A delegation of senior Hamas officials from the Gaza Strip, along with the organization’s overseas leadership headed by the deputy head of the political bureau Saleh Al-Arouri, are set to arrive in Cairo Saturday night or Sunday morning to continue talks with the heads of Egyptian intelligence.

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The timing of the visit is particularly sensitive in light of an escalation in violence along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel over the past week and the lack of progress in reaching a cease-fire agreement with Israel and in obtaining a reconciliation agreement with the Palestinian Authority.

Husam Badran, a member of the Hamas political bureau, reported on the delegation’s visit to Cairo but did not provide any further details on the schedule or the subjects that will be discussed in the talks.

Last week, an Egyptian intelligence delegation visited Gaza and Ramallah, and it was reported that no progress was made in the talks on an internal Palestinian reconciliation at the time. Also last week, the intra-Palestinian arena saw an escalation as the PA’s security forces in the West Bank arrested dozens of Hamas members after Hamas representatives verbally attacked Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas both before and after his speech in New York to the United Nations General Assembly last week. The Hamas' Legislative Council denounced President Mahmoud Abbas as an illegitimate leader who does not represent the Palestinian people. 

Meanwhile, Hamas arrested Fatah activists in the Gaza Strip. A Palestinian official close to the Hamas leadership in Gaza told Haaretz on Saturday that Egypt is aware that it is impossible to bridge the internal Palestinian rift, so most of the effort will be devoted to preventing an escalation and a direct confrontation with Israel.