FM escalates war of words between Egypt, Hamas

The war of words between the Egyptian Foreign Ministry and Palestinian resistance group Hamas–which began after leading Hamas member Mahmoud el-Zahar criticized Egyptian FM Ahmed Abul-Gheit in a 25 June interview with Al-Masry Al-Youm–escalated on Sunday, with Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hossam Zaki describing Hamas’ reaction to his recent criticisms of el-Zahar as “emotional and confused.”

“Some of them don’t want to understand, while others are filled with joy over what is happening and possibly want to make matters even worse,” Zaki said of the Hamas leadership. He continued, “They make a mistake when they try to make matters personal,” an approach he described as “fruitless.”

When asked about reports that Hamas planned to remove a monument to the Egyptian unknown solider located in the city of Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip, Zaki replied, “We were very sorry to hear of this, for it is an unacceptable insult to the memory of the Egyptian martyrs who watered the soil of Palestine with their blood.”

He continued, “This is a provocation to both Egypt’s government and people and has potential long-term consequences.” He went on to assert that removal of the monument “was not in Hamas’ interest.”

On the subject of inter-Palestinian reconciliation, Zaki stated: “The latest developments and various media leaks have revealed what is actually going on–that certain parties want to make Egypt take the blame for the failure to reach agreement on [Hamas-Fatah] reconciliation.” 

According to the ministry spokesman, Hamas “wants to rid itself of the onus of being held responsible for the failure to reach an agreement, which it has been pinned with since the end of last year.”

Zaki went on to state that Egypt was currently studying a Hamas proposal delivered to Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa during the latter’s visit to the Gaza Strip two weeks ago. Zaki said the proposal, which calls for Hamas and Fatah to arrive at a joint understanding regarding Hamas’ longstanding reservations about the Egyptian reconciliation document, served to open up a new channel for dialogue.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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