Egypt is hosting Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas and a delegation from Hamas for separate talks regarding the latest border crisis. During talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Abbas demanded that rival group Hamas give up control of Gaza.
These groundbreaking talks mark the first time ever that Egypt will receive a Hamas delegation, as neither Egypt nor Israel recognizes Hamas as Gaza's legitimate authority. Hamas representatives, who will only be meeting with lower-lever Egyptian officials, will certainly push for a role in a border agreement.
Currently, the Palestinian Authority and the militant group Hamas are sparring over control of the Rafah border crossing. To see the connection between the conflict and the map
Rafah, which borders Egypt, offers Gaza's sole outlet not controlled by Israeli forces. With the hopes of putting pressure on Hamas, Egypt has kept the border closed since last summer. Yet, it has become clear that restoring control requires that Hamas be brought into the discussion.
Following missile attacks, Israel recently cut off the delivery of fuel food and supplies to Gaza. Last week, Palestinians blew up the Rafah border fence, and Gaza residents have been flooding the Egyptian border to access fuel and other supplies. It does not appear that the Mubarak-Abbas talks yielded fresh results. Hopefully, the talks with Hamas will help bring about a solution.