Egypt Vows Continued Support For Hamas-Led Palestine

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit said here on Saturday that Egypt would continue to support the Palestinians after Hamas won the legislative election, the official MENA news agency reported.

Abul Gheit made the remarks while meeting visiting Arab Israeli Knesset Member Ahmed al Tibi, according to the report.  “Egypt’s support to the Palestinian cause and the realization of peace in the Middle East will remain unchanged regardless of the form of the next Palestinian government,” Abul Gheit was quoted as saying.

Egypt backs the Palestinian people and their right to establish an independent state and will not interfere in its choices or ally itself with a particular party, he added.

Hamas, which participated in the Palestinian parliamentary elections for the first time on Jan. 25, got a landslide victory by securing 74 seats out of the 132-seat parliament, and has thus been given a mandate to form a new government. The Hamas-dominated Palestinian legislature was sworn in on Saturday. 

Egypt, a major regional power which wields considerable influence over various Palestinian groups, including Hamas, has asked the group to talk with Israel, but is unwilling to exert substantial pressure.

The United States and European Union, two major donors of the Palestinian National Authority, have urged Hamas to recognize Israel, renounce violence and accept existing Palestinian-Israeli agreements.

Hamas leaders have repeatedly rejected the demands, but indicated at the same time that the group was willing to deal with Israel.