Egypt and Hamas on a Collision Course

The relationship between the Egyptian government and the Islamic Hamas movement has considerably deteriorated as a result of the latest Israeli missile attack which followed the end of the truce.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum has been quoted as accusing Egypt of betrayal given the fact that foreign minister Tzipi Livni spoke from Cairo about the upcoming attack without her Egyptian counterpart reacting.

Hamas supporters in Egypt and in Jordan used the attacks on Gaza to sharply criticize the Egyptian government. Zaki Ben Rshed, a leader of the Islamist movement in Jordan, speaking on Radio al balad in Amman, said that the attacks on Gaza are the result of what he called an axis of evil. He named what he called the Zionists, as well as the Palestinian Authority's Mahmoud Abbas and Egypt's president Hosni Mubarak, as parties to what he called the evil parties responsible for the attack.

Independent commentator Amr Adeeb speaking on satellite program Cairo Today criticized the fact that demonstrations in Jordan singled out his country, Egypt, while not mentioning the Israelis fore responsibility. When Abdeeb tried to interview the Hamas spokesman, a live row took place ending with the Hamas spokesman hanging up on air with the Egyptian talk show host. One of the points of contention in the discussion was the fact that Hamas has refused to allow injured Palestinians to leave to the Egyptian side of the border in the Gaza Strip. Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak has dispatched his minister of health to the borders with Gaza along with ambulances and medical supplies. The Islamist spokesman Barhoum has justified the decision by saying that Hamas is not interested in the border being open to the dead but for the living. When pressed by Adeeb to prove his earlier statement that Egypt is complicit in the Israeli attacks, Barhom issued a general attack on regional and international parties and then hung up.