Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood visited the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip for the first time on Saturday, signaling a shift in Cairo’s posture toward the Palestinian Islamists since the fall of President Hosni Mubarak. A delegation led by deputy Brotherhood chief Goma Amin met Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh in celebration of the prisoner swap between Hamas and Israel brokered by Egypt last week. Under the prisoner swap, Hamas released Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for 1,027 Palestinian and Israeli-Arab prisoners. “We came to participate in the joy at the release of brothers. We are proud of them,” Amin told reporters. “Resistance proved itself. “The Brotherhood, a political party which, like Hamas, regards relations with the Jewish state as anathema, had been curbed by the U.S.-aligned Mubarak. He fell to a citizen revolt in February.Mubarak had tried to mediate between Hamas and its Western-backed Palestinian rivals in the secular Fatah movement. “This is the first delegation from the Brotherhood to visit Gaza,” said Mahmoud Ghozlan, a spokesman for the group in Cairo. “It wasn’t allowed before to go there at all.”The prospect of the Brotherhood making electoral gains in post-Mubarak Egypt has stirred concern in Israel. Ties between the countries have frayed since the Egyptian revolution though Cairo’s interim military rulers say their peace remains solid.
Despite the report, this is likely not the first visit by the Egyptian Brotherhood to Hamas Gaza. In January 2010, an Israeli TV station reported that Muslim Brotherhood “representatives” traveled to Gaza from Egypt through the open border to meet with Hamas. Another earlier media report indicated that shortly after Hamas took over the Gaza strip, Muslim Brotherhood representatives were present to review Hamas military formations.
The Hamas charter states that it is ” is one of the wings of the Muslim Brothers in Palestine” In 2007, a Hamas journalist acknowledged (see source below) the role that the “international Muslim Brotherhood” has played in providing funds for the purchase of weapons Hamas is supported financially and politically by the global Muslim Brotherhood and a NEFA Foundation report has documented the Hamas fund-raising activities of the Union of Good, a coalition of Islamic charities linked to the Brotherhood that provides financial support to both the Hamas “social” infrastructure, as well as its terrorist activities. Previous posts have also discussed the worldwide campaign orchestrated by the global Brotherhood against Israeli actions in Gaza during the 2008-2009 conflict with Israel.
Source: The Globe and Mail (Canada) June 15, 2007 Friday “Siege was months in the making; Early stirrings of trouble began more than a week ago with the killing of a Fatah activist”