Amid questions over the policy direction of a Muslim Brotherhood-governed Egypt, newly elected President Mohamed Morsi met with two rival Palestinian leaders this week. Morsi met with Mahmoud Abbas, the Fatah president of the Palestinian Authority, on Wednesday and with Khaled Meshaal, the leader of Hamas, which controls Gaza, on Thursday.
“If you are Abbas, you are very concerned about the strengthening and emboldening of Hamas,” said David Schenker, director of the Program on Arab Politics at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He emphasized that the meeting between Morsi and Meshaal marked the first meeting between Hamas, the militant offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, and an Egyptian head of state.
Symbolically, he said, it raises Meshaal to the level of president.