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The rise of Islamic parties in the Egyptian parliamentary elections constitutes the “new mood” in the Middle East, Hamas’ senior political adviser in the Gaza Strip said today in a radio interview.
“This is the new mood in the Middle East – that the people now count on the Islamists to help to fix the situation in the Middle East after all these decades of corruption,” stated Ahmed Yousef, chief political adviser to Hamas’ de facto prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh.
From a cell phone in Gaza, Yousef was speaking in an interview on “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” on New York’s WABC Radio.
For Hamas – classified by the U.S. as a terrorist organization – it was the group’s first news media response to the Egyptian election results released today that evidence major victories for Islamist parties.
The High Election Commission said the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party garnered 36.6 percent of the 9.7 million valid ballots cast for party lists, while the Nour Party, an even more hard-line Islamist group, captured 24.4 percent.
Commenting on the Islamic gains in Egypt, Yousef said his Hamas group also “is part of the change in the region.”
“That’s why you heard from the meeting of (Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud) Abbas with (Hamas political chief) Khaled Meshaal that in the future we are willing to have a power sharing system,” Yousef said.
The U.S.-backed PA has been engaged in intense negotiations to form a unity government with Hamas.
Klein asked Yousef about recent Israeli news media speculation that any future Palestinian government will be located in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
Yousef replied, “Regarding where should be the prime minister’s office, since the presidency is in Ramallah and the parliament is also in Ramallah, I think Gaza should have one of these three very important offices in the Palestinian Authority. That’s why we are talking about the prime minister should be from Gaza, or at least he should reside in Gaza.”
Yousef said Hamas’ security forces in Gaza would be folded into the PA, which receives funds from the U.S.
“This is the part of the future relations,” he said. “The security apparatus is going to be restructured and reformed. I don’t think anyone will control the whole situation. I don’t think Hamas will control Gaza and Fatah will control the West Bank. We have to build a new security apparatus based on the profession and also the commitment to serve the Palestinian people.”
The Hamas political consultant also confirmed reports his group is looking to move the headquarters of its top leadership from Syria, telling Klein that Egypt, Jordan, Turkey and Qatar are among the possibilities.
“There are many places in the Arab world welcoming to have Hamas politburo,” Yousef said.
Asked specifically where Hamas headquarters can move, Yousef replied: “There are many other countries. Jordan is there. Sounds like they are trying to open dialogue with Hamas. They might offer a place. Turkey, Egypt, Qatar, there are many places where [Hamas leaders] can find a safe haven to work and try to help their people in Gaza and the West Bank.”