News / Middle East

Abbas Rejoices, Hamas Goes Quiet After Egyptian President's Fall

Outgoing Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati, right, shakes hands with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, left, at the government house, in Beirut, Lebanon, July 4, 2013.
Outgoing Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati, right, shakes hands with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, left, at the government house, in Beirut, Lebanon, July 4, 2013.
Reuters
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas praised Egypt's military on Thursday for toppling President Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood, the ideological ally of Abbas's Hamas rivals.
 
The fall of Morsi's government deprived Hamas of a sympathetic neighbor, and may strengthen Abbas's chances of nudging Hamas toward a long-delayed reconciliation and power-sharing pact.
 
By intervening to remove Morsi, the Egyptian army had prevented Egypt's “slide toward an unknown fate”, Abbas said.
 
Yasser Abed Rabbo, a top official in the Palestine Liberation Organization headed by Abbas, said: “This is a historic day for Egypt, and we are learning a lesson from the Egyptian example. Hamas should take note of what popular will can achieve.”
 
Palestinians are riven by political and cultural splits that mirror Egypt's. A Hamas victory in 2006 parliamentary polls led to a short civil war, which left the Islamists ruling Gaza, while Abbas's Fatah faction holds sway in the West Bank.
 
Hamas officials largely shunned the media on Thursday, and the movement took no position on the sudden removal of Morsi.
 
“We pray to God to preserve the security and the stability of Egypt and its people and to prevent bloodshed,” a Hamas spokesman, Ehab Ghussein, told Reuters.
 
The group had seen its star rise in the Arab world following a tide of uprisings in 2011 that swept religious-inspired governments to power in Tunisia and Egypt.
 
The leader of influential oil-rich Gulf state Qatar, a major backer of both the Brotherhood and Hamas, visited Gaza in October bearing hefty aid gifts. Egypt's prime minister, along with an Arab League delegation, came to the territory last November, even as Hamas and Israel fought an eight-day war.
 
Border crackdown
 
Hamas's muted response may signal its caution at upsetting an Egyptian military that controls Gaza border lifelines.
 
“It would be wrong to say relations won't be affected. Relations could become cold for a period,” said Hamas official Mustafa Assawaf, who stressed he was speaking as a political analyst about future ties with Egypt's new government.
 
Hamas leaders and supporters greeted Morsi's election last year with delight, believing his leadership would usher in the beginning of the end of an Israeli-Egyptian blockade on Gaza and a near-total international diplomatic quarantine.
 
But the Brotherhood, buffeted by Egypt's internal storms and exercising little authority over the security forces, furnished Hamas with few concrete advantages.
 
In recent weeks, Egypt's army, citing security concerns as it confronts Islamist militants in the Sinai desert, has stepped up a crackdown on border tunnels with Gaza through which food, fuel and weapons are smuggled.
 
The campaign has dismayed Hamas and pushed up prices in the impoverished coastal enclave.
 
Gaza residents say that dozens of Egyptian troops have reinforced the border areas since mass protests calling for Morsi's ouster began on June 30. The army also controls the Rafah border terminal, Gaza's main link to the outside world.

You May Like

N. Korea Sentences American to 6 Years Hard Labor

Matthew Miller's brief trial Sunday comes two weeks after 24-year old Miller and two other American detainees appealed to the US government to help free them More

Pakistan Rejects Afghan Criticism of 480-kilometer Border Trench

Military spokesman tells VOA the project is part of administrative and security measures taken to secure the mountainous border with Afghanistan More

Photogallery Typhoon Kalmaegi Makes Landfall in Philippines

Storm makes landfall late Sunday, cutting power and communications lines and forcing people to flee to higher ground More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interesti
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 12, 2014 8:35 PM
The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video Palestinians Turn to Rebuilding Gaza

After almost two months of conflict in Gaza, Palestinians are preparing to rebuild the isolated Mediterranean enclave with assistance from abroad. Meanwhile, an international human rights group has found that Israel likely violated international laws of war during some of its attacks on Gaza. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Middle Eastern Church Leaders Highlight Christians’ Plight

Patriarchs of Eastern Rite churches came to Washington this week to draw attention to the attacks against Christians in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. VOA’s religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid