Report: Cairo to Announce Resumption of Israel, Hamas Ceasefire Talks

YERUSHALAYIM -
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi (R) with Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, in 2015. (AP Photo/Egyptian Presidency)

Cairo is set to announce that Israel and Hamas will soon resume talks for a long-term ceasefire as well as the resumption of negotiations for a prisoner exchange deal and Gaza’s reconstructions, according to a report in the Riyadh-based Al Arabiya news outlet.

Sources that spoke with the outlet emphasized the Egyptian efforts would focus on a comprehensive ceasefire for all of the Palestinian territories as well as the transfer of funds to the PA in the near future.

The report further noted Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and Jordan’s King Abdullah II Thursday came at a time when the international community was enlisting to rehabilitate Gaza, and the tripartite meeting was aimed at efforts toward reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah and setting out a timeline for efforts to that end.

At Thursday’s meeting, the regional leaders discussed the two-state solution to the conflict with Israel and said the Palestinians have a right to an independent state, with east Jerusalem as its capital, according to a statement from el-Sissi’s office.

“We very much welcome the meeting of these three leaders,” U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said. “We hope it will lead to a positive outcome and a regain of traction of diplomacy in the Israeli‑Palestinian conflict.”

Egypt, which has played a key mediation role between Israel and Hamas over the years, mediated a truce between the two sides following the 11-day conflict in May.

In recent weeks, stakeholders have stepped up their diplomatic efforts aimed at preventing another military outburst in the region. The office of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has recently said that he will be visiting Egypt “soon” to hold talks with el-Sissi.

Last week after Bennett met with President Joe Biden in Washington, Defense Minister Benny Gantz met with Abbas in Ramallah. Those talks signaled a possible shift after the near-complete breakdown in communication between Abbas and Israeli leaders in recent years.

The meeting was followed by the Israeli announcement of a series of gestures aimed at strengthening the Palestinian Authority, including plans to loan $150 million to the cash-strapped autonomy government in Yehudah and Shomron.

Last month, Abbas Kamel, Egypt’s intelligence chief, paid a rare visit to Israel to discuss conditions for a long-lasting ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas. Kamel also traveled to Ramallah to meet with Abbas.

In Thursday’s talks, the Egyptian and Jordanian leaders also renewed their support of Abbas, warning of the “dangerous repercussions” of the expansion of Israeli communities in Yehudah and Shomron, the demolition of Palestinian houses, and the confiscation of land properties, read the statement. For his part, el-Sissi stressed that the establishment of a Palestinian state requires the unification of all Palestinian factions.