Egypt embarrassed ahead of elections after Palestinian president’s latest statement


By Middle East Affairs

Egyptian and Palestinian sources told Middle East Affairs that Cairo is embarrassed after the Palestinian president’s recent speech accusing Hamas in an assassination attempt on the Palestinian prime minister and intelligence chief.

A roadside bomb detonated March 13 near the convoy of Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamadallah and Palestinian Intelligence Chief Majid Faraj during a visit to the Gaza Strip.

The sources said the Egyptian capital is shocked by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ speech as it points to failure on Egypt’s part after 10 years of working as a mediator between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as armed group Hamas which holds control in the Gaza Strip bordering Egypt.

Cairo considers its role in the reconciliation important for its image and for the restoration of its pivotal role in the region. The Egyptian media, for example, focuses on Palestinian reconciliation as one of the most important achievements of Egyptian policy as an Egyptian national security issue.

Adding more weight to the embarrassment, the sources said, is that Abbas’ comments arrive just short of the Egyptian presidential elections, in which President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is virtually expected to win. These new comments come as a blow to his security apparatus.

The sources added that el-Sisi had a recent call with Abbas that aimed to prevent any new measures against Gaza, and Cairo contacted the president after his speech to express its deep concern over the comments made, which Egypt considers to be a major threat to situation in Gaza and the security in Sinai.

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