Posted by: Lister | February 3, 2008

Border to close

And Hamas says they want to cut economic ties with Israel. From Haaretz:

Hamas’ deposed prime minister Ismail Haniyeh was quoted Saturday as saying that Gaza must forge stronger economic ties with Egypt as a way of disconnecting from Israel.

Haniyeh told the pro-Hamas daily Palestine in an interview published Saturday that Hamas would like to see Gaza’s economy cut its ties with Israel, and instead receive fuel and electricity from Egypt.

“We have said from the days of our election campaign that we want to move toward economic disengagement from the Israeli occupation,” Haniyeh said.

An Israeli source was in favour. But no details as to who that source might be.

Meanwhile, senior Hamas hardliner Mahmoud Zahar said Saturday that Egypt has decided to close its breached border with Gaza on Sunday, and Hamas will not stand in the way.

Zahar spoke upon his return to Gaza after holding talks with Egyptian officials in Cairo. At the same time, Zahar added, Egypt has agreed to coordinate with Hamas on some border issues and to enable thousands of Palestinians stuck in Egypt to head to third countries for which they have visas or residency permits.

These travelers are currently waiting in the Egyptian border town of El Arish for Egyptian approval to continue their travels.

[…] Egyptian officials were not available for comment on Zahar’s claims. It was unclear whether the border would be sealed hermetically, as it was before Hamas blew up sections of the border wall on January 23, ending a seven-month blockade by Israel and Egypt. It also wasn’t clear to what extent, if at all, Hamas’ demand to be given a say in running the Egypt-Gaza border was being considered.

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