Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh is in Cairo liasing with Egyptian officials this week and on Monday met his Egyptian counterpart, Prime Minister Hesham Qandil.
One of the issues the Palestinians have brought up with Egyptian authorities is the closing of cross border tunnels, reported Reuters. The tunnels were built illegally to carry goods between Egypt and Gaza. Egypt has been particularly zealous in the closure of tunnels after it was suspected that the tunnels may have been used as part of last month’s attack near the Rafah border crossing where militants killed 17 Egyptian soldiers.
However, the goods that pass through the tunnels make up a large part of the Gazan economy and bolster taxes collected by the Hamas government.
Haniyeh also proposed a free trade zone with Egypt that would allow goods to pass through the Rafah border, according to Reuters. The Egyptian authorities have not commented on the proposal. Currently Rafah can only be used for travel, and even the crossing’s opening for travel is intermittent and inconsistent.
State-owned Al-Ahram newspaper is reporting the arrival of another Hamas delegation on Monday, this one headed by exiled chairman of the Hamas political bureau Khaled Mashall.
Mashall and Haniyeh are both reported to be vying for the position of Chairman in upcoming elections. A political rift between the two threatens to further fracture the disarrayed Palestinian leadership, but post-revolution Cairo has proven its ability to host Palestinian reconciliation.
Ma’an news agency is reporting from Gaza City that unnamed delegates from Hamas also met with Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir. Al-Bashir is in controversially in Cairo, despite some in the international community pushing for Egypt to arrest him.
Both the Hamas delegations are scheduled to meet with President Mohammed Morsy.