Hamas coordinates with ’Brotherhood’

Hamas coordinates with ’Brotherhood’

Hamas and Egypt’s banned Muslim Brotherhood organization, which have historical ties, have begun coordinating their moves ahead of next month’s parliamentary elections in the Palestinian Authority, PA security officials said on Monday.

Meanwhile, Said Siam, a senior Hamas official in the Gaza Strip announced on Monday that his movement was planning to form the new PA cabinet after it wins a majority of seats in parliament. “Hamas will be a clear voice in the new parliament,” he said. “We will enter all the institutions to reform them and put an end to corruption. We will also enter the Palestinian security forces, which are very corrupt.”

Siam did not rule out the possibility that his movement would halt terror attacks on Israel once it takes over the PA establishment. “The suicide bombings are not the only means that Hamas possesses,” he explained. “We resort to suicide attacks only in response to Zionist atrocities. We use them only when they serve the interests of our people. But when they don’t, we stop.”

For the first time in Egyptian parliamentary history, the radical Muslim Brotherhood, whose candidates ran as independents, won 88 seats in the People’s Assembly, accounting for 20 percent of a total of 432 races concluded so far.

“Hamas is trying to copy the Muslim Brotherhood model,” a senior PA official in Ramallah told The Jerusalem Post. “They are now dispatching envoys to Cairo to meet with the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

One of the Hamas candidates for the parliamentary elections, Miriam Farhat, visited Cairo over the weekend, where she met with Mehdi Akef, the spiritual leader of Muslim Brotherhood.

Farhat emerged as an icon of the intifada about three years ago after she appeared on a Hamas videotape encouraging her 17-year-old son, Muhammad, to participate in a suicide mission against IDF soldiers and settlers in the Gaza Strip. Her son was killed in the attack, as were his two other brothers in separate attacks.

Farhat, 56, is referred to many Palestinians as the “mother of martyrs.” Hamas is hoping to attract many votes by including her in its national list of candidates.

The Muslim Brotherhood, which also fielded female candidates in the Egyptian elections, has welcomed Hamas’s decision to include the “mother of martyrs” on its list. During her visit to Cairo, Farhat said that Hamas’s decision to participate in the parliamentary elections does not mean that the Islamic movement has abandoned the “military option.”

Akef, who held a warm reception for her, declared that the “resistance was the only way to end the Israeli presence in Palestine.” He added: “We welcome the Jews in Palestine only as individuals, but we don’t agree to their presence there as a state. The Jews’ ostensible entity is nothing but occupation and it won’t last for long.”

In an interview with the Egyptian weekly al-Ahram last week, the 77-year old Akef, who spent 20 years in prison, said: “I have declared that we will not recognize Israel, which is an alien entity in the region. And we expect the demise of this cancer soon. If they want to live with us as normal citizens sharing our rights and duties then we don’t mind. But to remain an occupying tyrannical country, then this will not happen, God willing.”

“This kind of cooperation between Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is very worrying,” said the PA security official. “How can we talk about a peace process when these radical forces are uniting against us?”

Hamas has already learned a lesson from the Muslim Brotherhood and is naming well-educated candidates to run in the parliamentary elections. The Hamas list, called The List for Change and Reform, consists largely of university professors, engineers, physicians, pharmacists, journalists and students.

The Hamas candidates include: Sheikh Hamed Bitawi, chairman of the Palestinian Scholars Association, Dr. Khader Sondak, a professor of Islamic Teachings, engineer Abdel Rahman Zeidan, Dr. Omar Abdel Razak, professor of economics, Dr. Aziz Dwaik, who teaches urban planning, and Dr. Ayman Daraghmeh, deputy director of the PA’s Health Department.

Several other top physicians and editors, such as Ghazi Hamad, publisher of the Hamas weekly al-Risalah, also appear on the Hamas list, along with many political activists and religious leaders. In addition, Hamas has decided to support a number of independent candidates, including Husam Tawil, a Christian from Gaza City. In a recent interview, Tawil denied that he was running as a Hamas candidate, but confirmed that he had sought the movement’s backing.