The Egyptian government is at a loss regarding the future of the Gaza Strip, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak said yesterday in talks with senior diplomatic officials. Haaretz has learned that Mubarak expressed great concern over the increasing strength of Hamas. He said Egypt is making great efforts to end the Hamas government and support PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah. “With Hamas no way,” he reportedly said.Mubarak painted a dark picture of the situation with Hamas and said there was no chance for peace with the organization. “Hamas will never sign a peace agreement with Israel if it stays in power,” the Egyptian president said. Mubarak also said that Egypt did not accept Hamas in power, especially in light of its growing ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, which leads the opposition in Egypt. Mubarak sees the Brotherhood, which gained considerable power in Egypt’s last parliamentary elections, as a threat to secular power.Egypt has begun barring senior Hamas leaders from entering Egypt due to concerns over their contacts with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Since Hamas rose to power and in view of the continuing strife between Hamas and Fatah, Egypt has been working through its security delegation in Gaza to reach a cease-fire among the factions. At the same time, Egypt has continuously held talks with Hamas, the Popular Resistance Committees and the Islamic Army over the release of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.