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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Hamas protests against Egyptian siege of Gaza

Even though the ISM, Free Gaza Movement and others keep refusing to place any blame on Egypt for Gaza's economic isolation, Hamas knows when it makes sense to put some pressure on their fellow Islamists.

This morning, Hamas held a protest rally in Rafah against Egypt's closure of some smuggling tunnels and to try to convince Egypt to allow a free-trade zone in Rafah which would allow goods to enter Gaza more freely. A Hamas spokesperson said that the terror group would be willing to shut the tunnels immediately if the free-trade zone would be established.

Egypt is resisting the idea for a number of reasons: it doesn't want Israel to benefit by making Gaza less dependent on aid from the Israeli side, and it does not want to become responsible for Gaza itself. It also fears that the free trade zone will in effect become part of a de facto expansion of Gaza into the Sinai. Furthermore, Egypt fears that such a zone would make it even harder for Fatah and Hamas to ever reconcile.

For its part, Hamas is trying to shame the Muslim Brotherhood-led Egyptian government to show it really cares about Gaza, and isn't just engaging in lip-service. Banners at the rally feature supposedly suffering Gaza children.