Egypt has made a final decision to close its embassy in the Gaza Strip, which operated until 2007 and was shuttered after the Hamas takeover of Gaza.
Last week, trucks evacuated the contents of the embassy and transported it to Egypt under the supervision of intelligence officials.
The Egyptian embassy building in the Gaza Strip was located in the prestigious Remal neighborhood but was closed following the Hamas takeover and after the buildings used by Egyptian diplomats and security personnel in the Gaza Strip were attacked.
The embassy building will be returned to its owner, an orphanage association, which leased it to the Egyptian Foreign Ministry. Egypt owns a plot of land in the Gaza Strip on which it had previously planned to build a permanent structure, but since Hamas’s takeover, the idea has been abandoned.
The Egyptian mission in Ramallah will handle all of the affairs related to the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) residents.
Egypt also imposes a personal sanction on Hamas leader Ismail Haniya and is preventing his wife and family from leaving the Gaza Strip and joining him in Qatar.
This move has political significance, lends support to the PA’s position, and serves as a punitive measure against Hamas, the Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported.
Sources in Cairo told the newspaper that the Egyptian move surprised Hamas, which had hoped that the offices would be reopened, as a step of Egyptian recognition of the separate Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip.
The Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper claims that the Egyptian move is intended to express support for the PA’s position, which demands that Hamas recognize its full sovereignty over the Gaza Strip, and is also a display of dissatisfaction with Hamas’ reluctance to reconcile with the PA.
The Egyptian outrage over Hamas stems from the assessment in Egypt that Qatar and Iran are behind Hamas’s positions and are preventing reconciliation with the PA, under conditions set by the Egyptians.
Furthermore, intelligence sources in Egypt have recently exposed the funding channels to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood and are working to block the funds flowing to Hamas.
The Egyptian move is also perceived as an incentive to the PA as part of an effort to bring about the renewal of the diplomatic process between the PA and Israel and in an attempt to restore the shaky relations between the PA and moderate Arab states.