In the first official visit of an Israeli head of diplomacy to the Arab country since 2008, the Egyptian Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry, received his counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi this Sunday in Cairo, with the aim of reinforcing the halt to the fire in Gaza with the Palestinian movement Hamas.
At the same time, the director of Egyptian Intelligence, Abbas Kamel, traveled to Jerusalem and Ramallah to hold talks with the still Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu ,and the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas.
Egypt’s frenzied diplomatic activity, which is trying to claim its relevance in the region, coincides with its efforts to organize a summit in Cairo between the Israeli and Palestinian parties in the coming days and to reactivate a new reconciliation process between Palestinian factions.
During the meeting between Ashkenazi and Shoukry, the Israeli and Egyptian delegations discussed ways to establish a lasting truce with Hamas and design the mechanisms to provide humanitarian and material aid for the reconstruction of Gaza, as reported by the Israeli Foreign Minister in his profile of Twitter As a condition, Ashkenazi has ensured that Israel prioritizes recovering the bodies of two soldiers who disappeared during the 2014 Israeli offensive in the Palestinian enclave and allegedly in the possession of Hamas.
It is unclear whether the diplomat has referred to two Israeli civilians who are also believed to be detained in Gaza by the Islamist movement. Ashkenazi has also noted that Israel expects the international community to play a “critical role” in rebuilding the Strip.
In turn, Shoukry expressed during the meeting the importance of acting in the next period and taking more measures aimed at strengthening the calm and creating the necessary conditions to create an environment that allows the political path to be resumed and to urgently launch serious negotiations and constructive between the parties, according to a statement after the meeting by Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Hafez.
In this regard, various media have pointed out in recent days that Egypt is preparing a separate meeting in Cairo between Israel, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. The head of the Hamas political bureau, Ismail Haniya, is also scheduled to meet soon with Egyptian officials in Cairo, the Islamist leader said last week in an interview with Al Jazeera.
The meeting between Shoukry and Ashkenazi came after, last Wednesday, the Secretary of State of the United States, Antony Blinken, met in Cairo with senior Egyptian officials, including President Abdelfatá Al Sis i, as part of his first trip to the Middle East organized to consolidate the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.
A day earlier, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, the foreign minister of Qatar, another influential country in Gaza, also traveled to Cairo to meet with senior officials, including Shoukry.
At the same time that Ashkenazi and Shoukry were meeting in Egypt, Kamel, the head of Egyptian Intelligence and one of the architects of Cairo’s policy on Palestine and Israel, met Netanyahu in Jerusalem. In this case, the Israeli prime minister also addressed the mechanisms to ensure that the reconstruction of Gaza does not strengthen Hamas and to prevent the Islamist movement from using the resources for the civilian population arriving in the Strip, according to a statement from his adviser in press.
Present at the meeting were the Israeli Intelligence Minister, Eli Cohen, and the head of the National Security Council, Meir Ben-Shabbat, with whom Kamel had another meeting on the sidelines.
The head of Egyptian Intelligence was also in Ramallah to meet with Mahmoud Abbas, who would have agreed to organize a series of meetings in Cairo between the leaders of the different Palestinian factions to resume attempts at reconciliation, according to the Egyptian news agency MENA. . Egypt has tried for years, and without success, to forge such an agreement. Kamel is scheduled to arrive in Gaza tomorrow to meet with Hamas officials.
The Palestinian Ministry of Public Works estimates that the damage caused only to basic infrastructure in Gaza after eleven days of Israeli bombings, which began on May 10, amounts to at least 250 million dollars, of which more than 100 million correspond to homes.
Cairo, which has close ties to both Israel and Hamas, played a key role in forging a basic agreement between the parties to end hostilities, which also left more than 250 Palestinians dead, including civilians and fighters. , and 13 Israelis, including a soldier.
One aspect of the reconstruction of Gaza that is called to be key is the point of access to the Strip through which the materials necessary to carry it out are transported. Here, Israeli media point out that Cairo aims for the main gateway to be the Rafah border crossing, which connects Egypt with the Palestinian enclave and is the only one that Israel does not control.
In return, however, Israel would seek guarantees that material that could be used by Hamas for military purposes is prevented, a strict control that Egypt has already implemented since Al Sisi took power in 2013. During its route through the East Medium, Blinken also advanced that Washington will make sure that aid for the reconstruction of Gaza does not benefit Hamas.