Monday, July 28, 2008
Interview with Mohamed Bassyouni, head of the Egyptian Shura Council's Foreign Relations Committee
"CAIRO, Jul 28 (IPS) - Sharing a border with both Israel and the Gaza Strip, Egypt has historically played a major role in Israeli-Palestinian affairs. Egyptian involvement in the longstanding conflict has deepened since June of last year, when resistance group Hamas wrested control of the Gaza Strip -- having won legislative elections a year earlier -- from the U.S.-backed Fatah movement of Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas.
Since then, Israel has kept its borders with the Hamas-run enclave hermetically sealed. Egypt, meanwhile, has kept its own border with the Gaza Strip closed, citing the absence of a formal border agreement. The precarious situation has led some critics to accuse Egypt of aiding Israel's ongoing siege of Gaza, which has resulted in untold hardships for the strip's roughly 1.5 million inhabitants.
Mohamed Bassyouni, head of the Foreign Relations Committee in the Shura Council (Egypt's upper house of parliament) and former ambassador to Israel, spoke to IPS correspondents Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani......."