During the press conference broadcast on Egyptian television yesterday, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Aboul Gheit harshly criticized Hamas, and placed responsibility for the current situation on it. Gheit also blamed Hamas for not allowing wounded persons from Gaza to seek treatment in Egypt, saying Hamas were more interested in having the injured serve as pawns in their propaganda war on Western TV networks rather than allowing them to be treated. "The wounded are barred from crossing" he said, blaming "those who control Gaza. We are waiting for the wounded to cross."
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said yesterday that Hamas could have avoided the Israeli attacks on Gaza. "We talked to Hamas and we told them 'please, we ask you, do not end the truce. Let the truce continue and not stop' so that we could have avoided what happened," he said. Reuters reported these statements widely and yet certain international media such as the BBC have not reported them.
Egypt and other Arab leaders understand that Hamas, like Hizbullah, is increasingly allied with Iran and aims to foment regional instability and Islamic revolution. The harder Hamas is hit the greater the chances for Israeli-Palestinian peace. If the rockets don't stop from Gaza, almost no one in Israel will be prepared to relinquish territory from the West Bank that would merely then become rocket launching sites to fire at Israel.
Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah said yesterday that they were prepared to assume control over the Gaza Strip if Israel succeeds in overthrowing the Hamas government. A top PA official said: "We believe the people there are fed up with Hamas and want to see a new government."