Hamas leader Khalid Meshaal gestures as he announces a new policy document in Doha, Qatar, May 1, 2017 – REUTERS/Naseem Zeitoon
CAIRO – 21 June 2017: The Los Angeles Times ran a report on Monday said Hamas could be looking to renew ties to Egypt as pressure mounts on Qatar to distance itself from Islamist groups.
The article argued that the Arab embargo on Qatar, spurred by allegations the gulf nation supports various terrorist groups in the region, may push Hamas to try and reconcile with the Egyptian state in order to negotiate with Israel.
The report mentions a recent meeting between Hamas and Egyptian officials in Cairo, in which they reportedly discussed a deal to shut down the flow of arms to terrorist groups in the Sinai in exchange for water for the Gaza Strip.
“Relations with Egypt are going well and have improved,” Khalil Haya, the deputy Hamas chief said on Sunday. “There is an Egyptian understanding of the crisis in Gaza and there was a readiness by Egypt to play an important role in solving the crisis,” he added.
Haya said the organization is determined to impede militant groups in the Sinai that threaten the state’s authority. He added that securing the Egyptian border is a joint interest shared with Cairo.
“Hamas is grappling with an external crisis in the region and an internal crisis with electricity,” Bjorn Brenner, a researcher at the Swedish Defense University and the author of a book on Hamas told LA Times. “Hamas is super worried they will be completely kicked out of Qatar. If this happens they have to have a Plan B, and we don’t know exactly what this involves.”
The report also said that a détente with Egypt could prevent the group from looking to Iran for allies, a move that has been proposed by its military wing in the past.
Egypt, along with Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Libya’s eastern-based government and the Maldives severed diplomatic ties with Doha on June 5, based on accusations that Qatar supports terrorist groups.