Cairo, Tel Aviv talk for ‘permanent ceasefire’ – Journal
CAIRO: Israeli and Egyptian officials held talks in the two countries on Sunday to bolster the Cairo-brokered ceasefire that ended the latest outbreak of deadly violence between the Jewish state and Hamas leaders in Gaza.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel in Jerusalem to discuss “strengthening cooperation” between their countries, Netanyahu’s office said.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi instructed Kamel and his delegation, who also visited the occupied Palestinian territories, to strike a permanent ceasefire agreement, senior Egyptian security officials said.
On the same day, Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi made the first official visit of a senior Israeli diplomat to neighboring Egypt in 13 years, for talks with his counterpart Sameh Shoukry.
Ashkenazi tweeted that they would “discuss establishing a permanent ceasefire with Hamas, a mechanism to provide humanitarian aid and reconstruction of Gaza with a central role played by the international community.”
He later called for efforts “to prevent the strengthening of extremist elements that threaten regional stability and to ensure the return home of missing persons and prisoners held by Hamas.”
Egypt’s foreign ministry tweeted that the ministers’ talks were “part of Egypt’s relentless and continuing efforts to re-launch the road to peace and strengthen the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.”
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh was also due in Cairo for talks, senior Egyptian security officials said, without providing further details.
Egypt played a central role in negotiating the May 21 ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, which ended 11 days of deadly fighting.
Israeli strikes on Gaza killed 254 Palestinians, including 66 children, health officials said.
Rockets and other fire from Gaza killed 12 in Israel, including a child and an Arab-Israeli teenager, doctors said.
Sisi also tasked Kamel with working to help smooth out political divisions between Hamas in Gaza and Fatah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Egyptian officials said.
Kamel met Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas in Ramallah on Sunday, according to official Palestinian media.
They discussed the latest developments related to the truce, as well as the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian national dialogue, the Wafa news agency said.
A bitter rift between Hamas and Fatah has long plagued Palestinian politics, but analysts say the latest escalation has served to unite the geographically fragmented Palestinian community in ways not seen in years.
Netanyahu reiterated Israel’s demand “for the speedy return” of Israelis detained in the Gaza Strip, the statement said.
Ashkenazi also said Israel was “fully committed” to repatriating Israeli prisoners held by Hamas.
Since the Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip in 2014, the Islamist group has held the bodies of Israeli soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, although Hamas has never confirmed their deaths.
Hamas is also reportedly detaining two Israeli citizens who entered Gaza alone and whose families say they have mental health issues.
Posted in Dawn on May 31, 2021