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Hamas must choose: Egypt or Iran?

Angered that Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh broke an agreement not to visit Iran, Egypt will make Hamas understand that it must choose sides and break with Iran if the movement hopes to survive.

On Dec. 1 Ismail Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, left Gaza for a series of meetings in Cairo with Egyptian intelligence regarding his movement's arrangement with Israel. On the same occasion, the Egyptians authorized Haniyeh, at his request, to travel to Muslim countries on the condition that he not visit Iran. Haniyeh agreed to the condition and left Gaza after having been “imprisoned” since his election to his current post in summer 2017, because Egypt had not allowed him transit through the Rafah crossing.

Haniyeh had intended to use his permission to leave Gaza to prove that he can raise funds for Hamas at least as well as Mousa Abu Marzouk, the Hamas senior whiz who is thought to have set a movement record for fundraising from Islamic foundations around the world. Haniyeh even planned to travel as far as Indonesia. Egypt’s goodwill “exit visa” stemmed from the hope of creating a more conducive atmosphere to help advance a long-term arrangement with Israel.

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