In signs of growing pressure on Hamas by Egypt regarding the organization’s ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, Saudi media is reporting that Hamas has removed Muslim Brotherhood slogans and pictures of their leaders from the Gaza Strip. According to a report by the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat:
March 21, 206 The organisation Hamas that rules over the Gaza Strip has removed Muslim Brotherhood slogans and pictures of their leaders including the group’s founder Hassan Al-Banna and former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. It is thought that this surprising step is linked to the agreement that was concluded last week with Egyptian intelligence leaders. The agreement concerns the disengagement of the Palestinian organisation from the Muslim Brotherhood.
Informed sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that all pictures and slogans that refer to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas’ affiliation with them have been removed. According to the sources, all logos and images were removed, including those that had been there for years. A large image in the Al-Saraya area, central Gaza was removed. The image showed the current and previous Emirs of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad and Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa, the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a Hamas official in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh and Hamas’ Politburo Chief Khaled Meshaal. Written underneath the image was ‘Jerusalem is waiting for the men’. The image has been replaced with a signboard on which a message to Egypt is written ‘Hamas does not fight outside of Palestine … our aim is to liberate it’, in reference to the organisation’s lack of involvement in any events in Egypt.
The head of the Hamas delegation confirmed the content of this message during his meeting with leaders of Egyptian intelligence last week. Hamas has not only removed Muslim Brotherhood slogans in Gaza, but has also removed any reference to the mother organisation inside mosques. This includes the commandments of Hassan Al-Banna which are taught to children.
An Israeli web portal providing news called Walla! published an article about the internal conflict within Hamas regarding the nature of its relationship with Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah, and even with ISIS in Sinai. According to the site, the conflict is at a political and military level.”
Confirming that the meeting between Hamas and Egyptian intelligence took place, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood website issued a statement that during the meeting, Hamas requested that Egypt open the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the Gaza strip. According to the statement:
March 16, 2016 Dr Khalil Al-Hayya, member of Hamas’ political bureau, issued a statement on Hamas’ visit to Egypt, affirming that Hamas’ meetings with Egyptian officials were transparent, and that Hamas called for an easing of the Palestinian people’s suffering.
Meetings between the Hamas delegation and Egyptian Intelligence officials dealt with issues of common concern in an atmosphere of responsibility and transparency. In this regard, we stress the following:
– We appreciate Egypt’s historic role in the nation’s crises and issues, especially the Palestinian cause. We stress the depth of the relationship between the Palestinian people and the Egyptian people who made great sacrifices and gave many martyrs for the sake of the Palestinian cause.
– We reaffirm our commitment to the stability and security of Egypt and our policy of non-interference in Egypt’s internal affairs. We certainly condemn all that would undermine Egyptian national security. We will never allow anything to be launched from the Gaza Strip to harm the security of Egypt and its people. We also reaffirm our duty to protect the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt and to take all necessary actions for this purpose.
– We wish for Egypt security, safety, stability and a halt to all bloodshed. We stress Hamas’ commitment to its policy of rejection of all political assassinations. We, therefore, condemn the assassination of Egypt’s former public prosecutor Hisham Barakat and all political assassinations that have taken place in Egypt.
– In confirmation of Egypt’s historical role in the Palestinian people’s crises, we call on our brothers in Egypt to help alleviate the suffering of the Gaza Strip by opening the Rafah crossing.
The Hamas charter says that it is “one of the wings of the Muslim Brothers in Palestine” and soon after Hamas took over the Gaza strip, Muslim Brotherhood representatives traveled to Gaza from Egypt through the newly-opened border to review Hamas military formations. A Hamas journalist has acknowledged the role that the “international Muslim Brotherhood” has played in providing funds for the purchase of weapons and Hamas is known to be supported financially and politically by the global Muslim Brotherhood.
Last week the GMBDW reported on claims by the Egyptian government that members of the Muslim Brotherhood were responsible for the assassination last summer of Egypt’s top prosecutor,