The London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat reported Sunday that Hamas is considering declaring Gaza Strip a separate entity from the Palestinian Authority, whose seat of government is in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
Hamas officials told the newspaper that the move is likely to be backed by the new Egyptian regime and will serve as a way for Gaza to cut its commercial ties with Israel, while bolstering them with Egypt, instead.
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According to the report, Hamas has been mulling the option for over two years, but the move was delayed over the fierce objection of the Egyptian intelligence services and Palestinian officials in Ramallah.
The rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and the subsequent election of Mohamed Morsi for president, have revived the notion.
The potential emancipation was reportedly the focus of recent talks held by Hamas Politburo Chief Khaled Mashaal and Morsi in Cairo, last week.
Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh is scheduled to meet with the new Egyptian president next week. The two are expected to discuss the matter further.
"Our relations with the new Egyptian regime are based on a balance of needs," a Hamas official said. "Gaza Strip needs a commercial pathway with Egypt and Egypt needs someone to maintain the security on its eastern front."
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