Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Report: Hamas humiliates pan-Arab delegation

Firas Press quotes PalVoice, a Fatah newspaper, saying that Hamas humiliated a pan-Arab delegation to Gaza.

According to the article, parliamentary representatives from Egypt, Algeria, Libya, Syria, Qatar, Somalia and Djibouti arrived at the Rafah crossing on the second day of Ramadan in order to bring aid into Gaza, including medical supplies for the Palestinian Red Crescent.

The delegation had the idea of inviting both Hamas and Fatah representatives to eat the Iftar meal at the fancy  Roots restaurant, presumably as a way to try to bring the two rivals into contact in an atmosphere of goodwill. They made reservations at the restaurant for a hundred people.

Once Hamas caught wind of the idea, however, it abruptly canceled the meeting, with Hamas official Ahmed Youssef relaying Ismail Haniyeh's "apologies" as they waited at the Rafah crossing.

Hamas then refused to accept the delegation's aid, and forced them to wait at the Rafah crossing for over an hour after sunset. The delegation was forced to eat their Iftar meal while waiting.

An angry Egyptian representative said, "Remember that I am Egyptian and we opened the border that you are now closing."

Finally, Hamas allowed the delegation through, but by that point they were fuming. They now are saying that future aid will be transferred from Egyptian Red Crescent to the Palestinian Red Crescent, bypassing Hamas.

(h/t Ali for translation help)