As was reported by countless news sources, the main reason cited by Secretary of State John Kerry for endowing Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi with close to $200 million to solve his immediate budgetary issues was “to encourage the work that he did with Israelis in getting the Gaza cease-fire.” Kerry was referring to an Egyptian-mediated truce that ended eight days of fighting in November between Israel and Hamas.
But on Thursday, a Hamas official spokesman announced that Egypt never asked Hamas to abandon its armed struggle against Israel.
“Hamas will not leave the armed struggle, and will not respond to this fabricated news,” Salah al-Bardawil told Ma’an.
This could very well be an attempt on the part of Hamas to make things a bit harder for Morsi in his recent flirtation with U.S. foreign policymakers. From where Hamas is standing, Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood have given them nothing but trouble in recent months.
Ynet reported on Thursday that Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood leadership and Morsi have been telling Hamas: Take an example from us, and “implement jihad in other ways.”
“The Egyptian leadership knows quite well that it is unacceptable to ask the Palestinian people to abandon their key tool to defeat the occupation,” al-Bardawil said.
In fact, since early February, the Egyptian Army, with or without the consent of the Brotherhood, has been flooding, with sewer water, the smuggling tunnels through which millions of dollars in goods and military equipment are imported into Gaza with import fees going into the Hamas coffers.
The Egyptian government said it was cutting arms smuggling that was destabilizing the Sinai peninsula, but it also cut a lifeline to the enclave’s blockaded residents.
Still, the Hamas official spokesman said the media campaign in Egypt and Israel is attacking the leadership both in Cairo and Gaza. The Egyptian opposition wants to undermine the Muslim Brotherhood by portraying Hamas as a burden to Egypt’s security, he said.
Al-Bardawil said the tunnel network was a response to exceptional circumstances due to Israel’s blockade, but insisted it did not undermine Egypt’s security.
Hamas seeks to preserve Egypt’s security as it maintains Palestine’s security, he added.