Safely re-ensconced in our secure Boursa location, TBE is once again prepared to offer the middling-quality translations our readers have come to expect. TBE has no idea about the current status of “West Bank firstism” in the Obama administration, or really of the status of US policy toward the Palestinian issue in general, though we would like to “express our disappointment,” as the Obama administration might say, in their milquetoast criticisms of the Israeli government’s latest provocation.
At any rate, today’s article, from al-Shorouk’s September 8, 2009 edition, gives us Egypt’s (and Hamas’) answer to the age-old question, “which comes first, the reconciliation or the elections?” along with some insight into the strategic thinking behind Egypt’s rejection of West Bank first. In case anyone was in doubt, it also makes clear that Palestinian national reconciliation is not making swift progress.
Meshaal to al-Shorouk: Egypt Supports Hamas Request to Postpone Elections Unless National Reconciliation is Completed Before January
Al-Shorouk has learned that Egypt is sending a strong message to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, along with Fatah and Hamas, which includes its opposition to presidential and legislative elections before the completion of national reconciliation, so that elections occur in the West Bank and Gaza Strip at the same time and on the same day. After a two-hour meeting with head of Egypt’s General Intelligence Service Omar Suleiman, Khaled Meshaal, head of Hamas’ political office, told al-Shorouk that he understood from the meeting that Egypt will support Hamas’ request that the elections be postponed, unless the national reconciliation is completed before the scheduled date of the elections in January 2010.
An Egyptian source who is very close to the Egyptian-Palestinian communication warned that the Palestinian president does not see any benefit to himself or Fatah or the Palestinian Authority in reconciling with Hamas, to the point that he doesn’t take responsibility for its work nor its decisions about Israel and the international community, and he is satisfied with the current situation, but that holding elections in the West Bank only represents a big disadvantage with repercussions on Egyptian national security, because all of Gaza will become Egypt’s responsibility for an undefined period of time.
Al-Shorouk also learned that it is too early to speak about the results of German mediation on a prisoner exchange between Israel and Hamas, which would permit the release of Gilad Shalit, but that German efforts will continue, and the matter may take a long time, from two to three months.