GAZA - Egypt will not stand by in a future conflict with Israel and is exploring options for lifting the blockade on the Gaza Strip, the Hamas-controlled enclave's Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said Friday, according to Army Radio. "The new Egypt will not be silent if war or aggression comes to Gaza," Haniyeh said in a Friday sermon delivered at a mosque in Gaza.
Haniyeh also said he is convinced that Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi is evaluating options for lifting the blockade on Gaza, particularly along the Egyptian border. Although no official statement has been made by Egypt, Haniyeh said he is certain that Morsi will "lift the siege on Gaza."
Haniyeh had called on the Egyptian government Wednesday to widen the scope of activity at the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt by turning it into a commercial hub as well as a passenger gateway.
Morsi said in a joint press conference with Tunisian President Moncef Marzouk on Friday that he sides with neither Hamas nor Fatah in his relations with the Palestinians.
"I stand equidistance from both Palestinian factions," he said. The two leaders agreed their support for Palestinians nation and reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas. "I stand equidistant from both factions Palestinians," he clarified Mursi, the chosen candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood, implying that he is not siding with Hamas or Fatah. Morsi pledged support for the "legitimate rights" of the Palestinians in his inaugural speech in June. Haniyeh and Morsi will reportedly meet in the coming week in Cairo. (Agencies)