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Hamas Seeking to Restore Iran Ties to Halt Downward Spiral

Veteran Israeli national security correspondent Yaakov Lappin this week conveyed what he described as “recent Israeli intelligence assessments” concluding that Hamas is steadily moving to reinvigorate its strained relationship with Iran, amid broader signals that the Palestinian terror group is desperate to halt what has become its worst economic crisis in roughly a decade.

Hamas finds itself entrapped and regionally isolated in ways that seemed unimaginable a year ago…This means that Hamas is, for all intents and purposes, on its own. As a result, it has begun exploring the idea of rejoining the Iranian axis, despite the risk of being ostracized in the Sunni world for such a move. Hamas recently dispatched delegation to Iran to discuss potentially rekindling relations.

Speculation that rapprochement was in the offing between the Palestinian faction and its former Shiite sponsors has been building for months, beginning with tepid declarations in December, through stronger boasts in January, through quiet confidence in February.

Egypt’s moves to economically isolate Hamas – which it treats as an off-shoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, and which it blames for facilitating jihadism in the Egyptian-controlled Sinai Peninsula – were already long ago described by the organization’s officials as a “death sentence.” This week Hamas leaders went further, declaring that Cairo’s blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip constituted a “crime against humanity.”

“Egyptian authorities’ insistence on closing the Rafah crossing and tightening the blockade of Gaza … is a crime against humanity by every criteria and a crime against the Palestinian people,” said Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for the Islamist movement which rules Gaza.

Egypt has also deepened its efforts to diplomatically isolate Hamas, and this week even refused to renew the residency visa of top Hamas figure Moussa Abu Marzouq. 

[Photo: Trango / WikiCommons]