On Israel’s first FM visit to Egypt in 13 years, talks include rebuilding the devastated Palestinian enclave after 11 days of bombing.
Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi arrived in Cairo on Sunday to discuss with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry the establishment of a “permanent ceasefire” between Israel and Hamas, the group that governs the Gaza Strip. besieged.
Ashkenazi tweeted in Arabic, English and Hebrew that his trip to Cairo is “the first formal visit by an Israeli FM in 13 years.”
According to his tweet, the visit responds to an invitation made by Egyptian Shoukry.
“We will discuss the establishment of a permanent ceasefire with Hamas, a mechanism to provide humanitarian aid and the reconstruction of Gaza with a key role for the international community,” he added.
He also noted that his government was “fully committed” to the repatriation of Israeli prisoners detained by Hamas.
During the visit we will talk about regional issues, as well as ways and means to strengthen our bilateral relations. pic.twitter.com/j6pcv4gs9T
– Gabi Ashkenazi – Gabi Ashkenazi (@Gabi_Ashkenazi) May 30, 2021
Egypt played a key role in brokering a ceasefire earlier this month between the Israelis and Hamas, ending 11 days of bombing.
Israel’s latest offensive in Gaza, which has been under a parallel siege since 2007, killed 253 Palestinians, including 66 children.
The attacks destroyed 1,800 residential units and partially destroyed at least 14,300 others, forcing tens of thousands of Palestinians to take refuge in UN-run schools.
The bombing also affected about 74 public buildings, including local municipalities, according to data released by the Gaza Ministry of Information.
Senior Egyptian security officials confirmed to the AFP news agency on Sunday that Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh would also be in Cairo to discuss, but would not provide further details.
At the same time, Egypt’s intelligence chief Abbas Kamel, who heads a high-level security delegation to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, is expected, officials added.
“President [Abdel Fattah] el-Sisi commissioned the head of general intelligence to argue with the Israeli prime minister [Benjamin Netanyahu] and worried the authorities about fixing a permanent ceasefire and recent events on the Palestinian front, “they said.
El-Sisi, who has re-established his country’s role as a regional heavyweight, also ordered Kamel to end political divisions between Hamas rivals in Gaza and Fatah in the occupied West Bank, officials said.
Palestinians have split politically between Hamas and its rival Fatah, but analysts say the latest escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has served to unite the geographically fragmented Palestinian community in a way not seen in years.
The escalation was the result of rising tensions in East Jerusalem occupied by Israel’s planned expulsion of Palestinian families from Sheikh Jarrah and attacks on the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex.
Rockets and other Gaza fires killed 12 people in Israel, including two children.
El-Sisi has pledged $ 500 million to help rebuild efforts in the densely populated and devastated enclave.
Egypt has helped Israel’s continued siege of Gaza and has largely kept Rafah’s border crossing closed for what it says are security reasons.
The siege of Gaza has also halted the flow of building materials needed to rebuild much of the enclave’s infrastructure, which was damaged in previous Israeli military campaigns in 2008, 2012 and 2014.
These hard-to-obtain materials have to be cleaned by layers of bureaucracy.