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Egypt tightens screws on Hamas with threat to close Rafah crossing

Hamas wants to resume mass demonstrations along Israel's border to attract international attention to Gaza, but doing so threatens to unleash harsh Israeli and Egyptian reprisals.
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It has become abundantly clear that an agreement between Hamas and Israel that would ultimately improve the economic and overall situation in Gaza is no longer in the offing, so both sides have begun exploring other options. On Sept. 4, Egypt informed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that the negotiations it was mediating between Hamas and Israel had reached an impasse and would therefore be suspended. Egypt views Abbas as the main culprit in the failure of the talks on the grounds that without Abbas and without a Hamas-Fatah reconciliation, no plan to rehabilitate Gaza is feasible. The Egyptians see Abbas taking control of Gaza as the key for an international plan to save Gaza, but he has not managed to reconcile with Hamas. Still, Egyptian intelligence chiefs directed a warning at Hamas: Egypt would be forced to act if the organization takes actions that rekindle clashes along Gaza's border with Israel.

The warning followed reports that Hamas was planning to resume the mass protests along the Israeli border that it had launched in March. Hamas believes that the demonstrations, which often resulted in violence, were successful in raising international awareness of Gaza’s plight and forcing Israel to consider a deal on lifting or easing its 11-year siege against the territory.

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