However, recently, the organization has been punctiliously expressing that the opposite is true – instead of removing hurdles from the path of the Gaza Strip's rulers, Morsi and his people have been sending Hamas a different message entirely: Take an example from us, say senior Muslim Brotherhood officials, and even if not publicly, "implement jihad in other ways."
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The Egyptian movement takes pride in the image it has managed to portray, which has encouraged the international community to accept it as Egypt's legitimate leadership. Now the Muslim Brotherhood wants Hamas to follow the same path.
"We paved the way, we did the dirty work for you," claimed senior Brotherhood officials in their message to senior Gaza officials.
Egyptian government destroys tunnels (Photo: EPA)
The Muslim Brotherhood's stance on Hamas is expressed in its approach to the smuggling tunnels between Egypt and the Strip. The Egyptian army has recently decided to flood the tunnels, a move that sparked resentment amongst Gazan officials, who view the tunnels as a comfortable means of smuggling goods and especially weapons from Sinai.
The Muslim Brotherhood was not fully supportive of the military decision, but it preferred it to the alternative – continued weapons smuggling from its territory.
From inside a smuggling tunnel in the Rafah area (Photo: AP)
A few days ago Issam al-Haddad, a senior Muslim Brotherhood official who serves as Morsi's adviser on foreign affairs, said that Egypt will not permit the flow of weapons via the tunnels, since that will undermine stability in the Sinai Peninsula. The Egyptian court is of the same opinion and it recently ruled that all tunnels on the Gaza border should be destroyed since they threaten Egypt's security.
In addition, any attempt to claim the opposite and support smuggling through the border, has yielded harsh criticism. Last November, for instance, during an emergency deliberation initiated by the Muslim Brotherhood at the height of Operation Pillar of Defense, it was argued that Egypt should turn a blind eye to the entrance of weapons from the Gaza Strip and to the aid to Hamas and other organizations in the form of money and weapons. The stance was immediately denied by deputy chairman ("deputy supreme guide") of the Brotherhood, Khairat al-Shater, considered the strongest man in the movement.
"This cannot be overlooked since it will cause great embarrassment to the Egyptian president's office with the international community and especially opposite the United States, which has put pressure upon it to stop the escalation in Gaza," said al-Shater, who was replaced by Morsi as the Muslim Brotherhood representative in the elections after his candidacy was disqualified.
Al-Shater added in the same deliberation that "Egyptian support of the Palestinian factions by way of weapons is likely to incite a war between Egypt and Israel. The Egyptian presidential stance to return the Egyptian ambassador from Israel is the best position taken by an Arab, Islamic state, and has led Egyptian citizens to take pride in their country."
The senior Muslim Brotherhood official also declared that "the entrance of Egypt into a war with Israel is not something that is accepted on the streets."