Egypt continues to push forward with last ditch efforts to convince Hamas to sign the reconciliation agreement with rival Palestinian faction Fatah.
Hamas Deputy Politburo chief Moussa Abu Marzouk said Wednesday that the Egyptians stressed to Hamas that the document that has been presented and signed by Fatah is not negotiable and all that is left is for Hamas to sign.
Nonetheless, Abu Marzouk said that no date has been set for a Hamas delegation to travel to Cairo to discuss or sign the agreement.
Egypt reportedly is refusing to allow entry to a Hamas convoy without any prior commitment on Hamas' part that it will sign on a Palestinian reconciliation document. Cairo has stipulated an additional condition – no talking about the document Fatah has already resigned.
Hamas Spokesman Dr. Sami Abu-Zuhri said to Thursday's London-based Arabic language newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi: "We have no problem going to Cairo. The problem is on the other side."
He hinted that Egypt is not interested in receiving a Hamas convoy after the organization declared their dissatisfaction upon revealing that Cairo, who Abu-Zuhri claimed is not ready to consult with Hamas, made changes to the original reconciliation document already accepted by Hamas in principle.
Abu-Zuhri said that Hamas is prepared for reconciliation but was surprised to see new changes to the document that were not discussed. "We are trying to organize a delegation that will go to Cairo. We want to send the delegation, but the problem is not on our side."
He said that his organization is demanding that the document be reevaluated prior to signing and that Hamas was prepared to sign the document in its original form.
Abu-Zuhri's statements are a testimony to the heightened tensions between Egypt and Hamas. Abu Marzouk said that Egypt is placing intense pressure on Hamas to sign the document as it is now.
Reconciliation or the ballot boxMeanwhile, Fatah and the Palestinian Authority continue to pressure President Mahmoud Abbas to unilaterally declare elections in January.
Sources believe that if no breakthrough in talks is reached by next weeks, Abbas is likely to declare elections on January 25th, but PA sources, as well as Hamas and the Egyptians, said this will not be the final word in the matter.
As of yet, the parties do not seem ready for reconciliation, and in the Gaza Strip Hamas continues to act independently.
After opening a police college last week, the Hamas government recently appointed an attorney general, who was sworn in before Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. The new attorney general took his post in the Strip despite one of the PA's laws according to which a general attorney cannot be appointed without the president's approval.
Hamas also continues to train security forces in the Strip, and has recently made a line of new appointments in the Interior Ministry.