Khaled Abu Toameh, Ben Hartman, Yaakov Lappin
The Jerusalem Post
October 25, 2012 - 12:00am

Defying expectations, the current regime in Egypt has acted more harshly against Hamas than the previous one, Vice Premier Silvan Shalom told Israel Radio on Thursday.

"It's good for the public to know that the current leadership is acting against Hamas in a very tough way," Shalom said, specifying that it is destroying tunnels "one after the other," limiting movement and blocking it from carrying out terrorist activity from Egyptian territory.

"I can tell you that Egypt's actions against Hamas are much harsher than it was under the previous regime," Shalom said.

Egypt brokered an informal ceasefire between Israel and Hamas Wednesday night, after two days of intense violence that saw some eighty rockets and mortar shells fired from the Gaza Strip into the western Negev.

Late Wednesday night, a Palestinian official said Egypt was mediating a truce which he said went into effect at midnight. No rocket fire or Israeli Air Force strikes on Gaza were reported overnight.

“The contacts Cairo made resulted in a verbal promise by Hamas to calm the situation down, and Israel said it was monitoring calm on the ground and would refrain from attacks unless it was subject to rocket fire from Gaza,” said the official, who is close to the talks.

Taking a somewhat different tack, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on Wednesday said Egypt will "never accept any assault on the Palestinian people" and will stand by them in their struggle, Palestinian news agency Paltoday reported.

Speaking on state television to mark the Islamic Eid Al-Adha festival, Morsi said: "We will never accept any assault or siege on the Palestinian people. Egypt provides Palestine with all its needs such as food and clothing."

Morsi added: "We do not declare war on anyone. Palestinian rights will not be lost, we are in the same trench with our kin [Palestinians] against any aggression toward them," he said.

Morsi commented: "The blood of Palestinians is our blood, their life is our life and their pains are our pains."

According to Shalom, Hamas thought it would have more freedom to operate from Egypt under the leadership of President Mohamed Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood movement that spawned Hamas. Instead, Shalom said, Hamas "finds itself exactly in the opposite situation."

"The security cooperation between us and Egypt is excellent, and is continuing as normal," he concluded.


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