Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi says he will discuss establishing a “permanent ceasefire” in Gaza with his Egyptian counterpart as Egyptian security officials confirm that Hamas’s leader Ismail Haniya will also be in Cairo.
Israeli foreign minister Gabi Ashkenazi has arrived in Cairo to discuss with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry the establishment of a “permanent ceasefire” between Israel and Gaza’s resistance movement Hamas.
Ashkenazi tweeted in Arabic, English and Hebrew that his Cairo trip is “the first formal visit of an Israeli FM in 13 years”.
“We will discuss establishing a permanent ceasefire with Hamas, a mechanism for providing humanitarian aid and the reconstruction of Gaza with a pivotal role played by the international community,” he added.
He also noted that his government was “fully committed” to repatriating Israeli prisoners held by Hamas.
Egypt played a pivotal role in brokering a ceasefire earlier this month between the Israelis and Gaza’s Palestinian ruler Hamas, bringing an end to 11 days of Israeli military blitz.
Senior Egyptian security officials confirmed to AFP on Sunday that Hamas’s leader Ismail Haniya would also be in Cairo for discussions but would not provide further details.
We will discuss establishing a permanent ceasefire with #Hamas, a mechanism for providing humanitarian aid & the reconstruction of #Gaza with a pivotal role played by the intl. community.
First and foremost, Israel is fully committed to returning our MIA’s held by the Hamas.— גבי אשכנזי – Gabi Ashkenazi (@Gabi_Ashkenazi) May 30, 2021
Egyptian delegation in Israel
Concurrently, Egypt’s intelligence chief Abbas Kamel leading a high-level security delegation is expected in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, the officials added.
“President (Abdel Fattah) al Sisi instructed the general intelligence chief to discuss with the Israeli Prime Minister (Benjamin Netanyahu) and concerned authorities the fixing of a permanent ceasefire and the latest developments on the Palestinian front,” they said.
Sisi also tasked Kamel with ending political divisions between rivals Hamas in Gaza and Fatah in the West Bank, the officials said.
Palestinians have been politically divided between Hamas and its Fatah, but analysts say the latest escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has served to unite the geographically fragmented Palestinian community in a way not seen in years.
An Egyptian official said the discussions with Israeli officials also are expected to touch on a set of measures that would allow materials, electricity and fuel into the territory, as well as the possible expansion of maritime space allowed for Gaza fishermen.
The official said Egypt would offer guarantees that rebuilding funds will not find its way to Hamas, possibly going through an international committee led by Egypt or the United Nations that would oversee the spending.
The flare-up was the result of Israeli aggression in Jerusalem, including over Israeli security forces cracking down on Palestinians inside the Al Aqsa mosque compound, Islam’s third holiest site, which is also revered by Jews as the Temple Mount.
Israeli strikes on Gaza killed 254 Palestinians, including 66 children, health officials said.
Rockets and other fire from Gaza claimed 12 lives in Israel, including one child and an Arab-Israeli teenager, medics said.
Sisi has pledged $500 million to help reconstruction efforts in the densely populated enclave, which was pummelled by Israeli air strikes.