July 29, 2013 | Quote

Analysts: Egypt Coup Weakens Hamas, May Help Peace Talks

Unrest in Egypt and an Egyptian military crackdown in the Sinai has weakened the Palestinian Liberation Organization's main rival, Hamas, and improved prospects for peace talks about to begin in Washington, analysts say.

Hamas, the Palestinian franchise of the Muslim Brotherhood that controls the Gaza Strip and rules its population of 1.8 million Palestinians, opposes the negotiations that Secretary of State John Kerry announced last week for a possible independent Palestinian state.

It is a terrorist group that has instigated two wars with Israel, a country it seeks to destroy, and is vying to win the allegiance of the 1.7 million Palestinians in the West Bank who are are governed by the PLO.

But the coup that removed Egypt's first elected president from office robbed Hamas of a major backer and precipitated a crippling military offensive that has crimped its coffers, say analysts.

“This leaves Hamas in a very precarious position,” Schanzer says. “Hamas registered its discontent with return to negotiations, but it is as marginalized and weakened as I can recall in recent memory.”

That has created an opportunity that U.S. officials should capitalize on by urging its allies in the Persian Gulf to cut off support for the State-designated terrorist group that won Palestinian elections in 2006 and then took power in Gaza by killing scores of Palestinian Liberation Organization supporters, Schanzer says.

“There is one thing the PLO and Israel agree on, which is antipathy for Hamas,” he says. “If the United States can offer a crippled Hamas on a silver platter to both the PLO and Israel this is something that … could be used (by the USA) as an inducement to both sides.”

Morsi helped broker a truce between Israel and Hamas when the two fought in 2012. But Hamas cannot expect such backup in the future.

Read the full article here.

Issues:

Egypt Palestinian Politics