Several Palestinian factions in the Gaza strip condemned on Thursday an Egyptian court’s decision to designate the armed wing of Hamas as a terrorist group, a move some experts say could undermine Egypt’s role as a mediator in the Palestinian Israeli conflict.
An Egyptian court last week banned the Izz el-Deen Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s armed wing, in line with a crackdown by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamist militants in the Sinai Peninsula.
Sources close to the Qassam Brigades said they have ruled out Egypt as a broker with the Israelis, Reuters news agency reported. Separately, several political factions in the West Bank, including Fatah, have denounced the decision.
“Should the Egyptian government adopt the ruling, it will end its role as a mediator,” Saleh Abdel Jawad, a professor of political science at Ramallah’s Bir Zeit University, told Al Arabiya News.
“This is a loss for Egypt and Hamas,” he said, adding that Cairo is effectively assuming the same stance as Israel and the United States, which will “most definitely” affect its ability to negotiate.
“I understand that Egypt stands against Hamas, but their confrontation impacts the people of Gaza,” where the group has been in power since 2007.
While this may not be the Egyptian intention, “this is the reality,” he added.
It remains unclear whether the court ruling will have a direct impact on Egyptian foreign policy. A spokesperson for the Egyptian foreign ministry could not be immediately reached in time for the publication of this article.
Since Egypt’s military ousted president Mohammad Mursi in 2013, authorities have accused Hamas of aiding militants who have carried out a string of deadly attacks on security forces in Sinai.
“In my guess, Egypt may have a problem with Hamas, until the Sinai problems clear,” an Arab senior political analyst, who chose not to be identified, said in a telephone interview.
The Egyptian government has thrown the entirety of Hamas “under one big tent, which would not be very accurate,” he said. As to how this court decision would impact Egypt’s relations with Fatah, which condemned the ruling, he said that it would not have major adverse effects.
“Fatah needs Egypt, they have to say this in order to maintain a cordial relationship with Hamas, you have to show solidarity with another Palestinian faction,” he said, describing Hamas “not an adversary or a friend, but a curious partner.”
نستخدم ملفات الكوكيز لنسهل عليك استخدام مواقعنا الإلكترونية ونكيف المحتوى والإعلانات وفقا لمتطلباتك واحتياجاتك الخاصة، لتوفير ميزات وسائل التواصل الاجتماعية ولتحليل حركة المرور لدينا...اعرف أكثر