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Hamas takeover of Gaza divides Egypt's parliament

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Recent events in Gaza have caused a factional quarrel in the parliament of neighboring Egypt, with parties condemning the internationally-recognized Palestinian leadership, as well as its Islamist rivals.
CAIRO, June 22 (RIA Novosti) - Recent events in Gaza have caused a factional quarrel in the parliament of neighboring Egypt, with parties condemning the internationally-recognized Palestinian leadership, as well as its Islamist rivals.

Egyptian media said the opposition Muslim Brotherhood faction in the 454-seat lower house had vehemently, but unsuccessfully, resisted a resolution condemning radical Islamic movement Hamas, which took over the Gaza Strip in a violent coup last week, battling loyalists of pro-presidential Fatah.

A senior lawmaker from the majority National Democratic Party said Hamas's actions had nothing to do with Islam, and that the group was merely seeking to "seize control over power and wealth."

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, whose emergency government now only controls the larger Palestinian territory, the West Bank, has received the full support of the West, Israel, and the more moderate Arab nations including Egypt, since the Hamas takeover.

The Muslim Brotherhood is a world-wide Sunni network and the mother organization of Hamas. Its 88 Egyptian parliamentary members, who were formally elected as independent candidates, although the group is banned in Egypt as a party, said Egypt has no right to take sides in the Palestinian dispute.

The Brotherhood's chairman, Mohamed Mahdi Akef, said that Arab League leaders including Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak have expressed support for the Abbas government, but "cannot even implement their own decision to send a commission to Gaza to investigate the consequences of the confrontation."

He said that they are thus acquiescing to the United States, whose sole purpose in the Middle East is to support Israel.

The chairman said a group of Palestinians acting on behalf of Israel and the U.S. had provoked the violence in Gaza.

"They acted against the will of the Palestinian people, who voted for Hamas in a free and democratic election. They used all available means to impede the [Hamas-led] government and broke the Mecca agreements [on a national unity government]," Mohamed Mahdi Akef said.

Cairo has officially condemned the Hamas coup and said a prospect of having "an Islamic emirate" near Egypt's borders was a threat to national security.

In February Hamas and Fatah agreed to form a shared government and declare a ceasefire after Saudi mediation in Mecca. The truce held for almost three months before clashes between the two factions escalated.

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