|Hamas sees Egypt's Morsi defying Israel, ending blockade||
GAZA - The head of the Islamic resistance movement Hamas in the Gaza Strip said on Friday he was confident Egypt's new president would shield the Palestinian enclave from Israeli attack and fully open its borders to end a trade blockade.
Ismail Haniyeh, the democratically elected prime minister in Gaza, told worshippers in a mosque that change was coming, Reuters reported.
"We are confident that Egypt, the revolution led by Morsi, will never provide cover for any new aggression or war on Gaza," he said. "We are confident that Egypt, the revolution led by Morsi, will not take any part in blocking Gaza," he added.
Mohamed Morsi, who won power in last month's presidential election in Egypt, is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and ideologically close to Hamas.
The Islamic resistance movement long complained that his predecessor Hosni Mubarak, ousted from power last year in a popular revolt, sided not just with Israel, but also with their political rival -- acting Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement.
Mubarak helped police the Gaza blockade and did not let any goods officially cross the border, saying this was part of longstanding accords with Washington and Israel.
So far, Hamas has seen little sign of a policy shift since Morsi took office and diplomats said the Egyptian leader had so many domestic problems that he could ill-afford to dedicate much time to re-tooling Cairo's relations with the Palestinians.
Israel launched a military offensive against Gaza in late 2008 in an effort to end repeated rocket attacks from Hamas, which refuses to recognize Israel's right to exist. Some 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis died in the three-week war.
Low level violence continues and Israel still imposes a rigid trade blockade on Gaza, arguing that it is needed to prevent weapons of arms-making materials into the enclave.
Politicians in Israel have expressed alarm in private over the election of Morsi and fear that their country's historical peace treaty with Egypt could be eroded over time.
Morsi's position will soon be put to test when he meets officials from Hamas and the secular Fatah, which is backed by Western powers and rules in the nearby West Bank.
Protocol means that Morsi will almost certainly see Abbas first, with one source saying it would happen on Wednesday. No date has yet been set for a Hamas delegation to be received.
Photo: Ismail Haniyeh gestures during an interview with Reuters in Gaza City on May 10, 2012.
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