Report: Egypt Working on ‘Long-Term’ Israel-Gaza Calm

The Iron Dome missile defense system in action against rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, as seen from Ashkelon. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Egypt is working on a comprehensive plan for achieving a “long-term” calm between Israel and Gaza Strip factions, London-based newspaper Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported Sunday.

The newspaper, which is also published in Doha and Beirut, quoted sources claiming that the current period “will address the situation in Gaza for the first time within a framework of understandings that will lead to a relatively long-term ceasefire agreement between resistance factions in the Strip and Israel.”

According to the newspaper – which is owned by former MK Azmi Bishara who is accused of spying for Hezbollah – the United States and Qatar are involved in the arrangements taking place within regional and international frameworks. “The arrangements include a broader role for Cairo in terms of its presence in Gaza,” the report stated.

The report addressed Iran’s involvement in the Gaza Strip and added that “due to Tehran’s role in supporting Hamas and Islamic Jihad, there have been consultations between Egyptian and Iranian security officials regarding the situation in Gaza and the occupied territories.”

An Egyptian source revealed that as part of the proposed framework, Cairo aims to expand trade with Gaza and stated, “They want to establish a port in Gaza under the auspices of the El Arish port in Egypt, under Egyptian supervision and management.” According to the source, “According to the arrangement, a highway will also be built connecting Gaza to El-Arish.”

The report comes after a Hamas delegation, led by the head of the organization’s politburo Ismail Haniyeh, arrived in the Egyptian capital last Thursday at Cairo’s invitation. The delegation also included other senior Hamas officials, including Saleh al-Arouri, Khaled Mashal, Khalil al-Hayya, and Rawhi Mushtaha.

A delegation of Islamic Jihad officials has also been visiting Cairo in recent days headed by terrorist group’s leader Ziyad al-Nakhalah and the negotiator for the ceasefire with Israel in last month’s fighting Mohammed al-Hindi.

Jordanian newspaper Al-Rai said over the weekend that the meetings between senior Hamas and Islamic Jihad officials in Egypt are meant to deliver a “clear and threatening message to Israel.” The newspaper quoted sources who added, “Israel’s aggression will face a strong response, our patience is wearing thin.”

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