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Egyptian delegation meets with Palestinian leaders to discuss peace and national unity

By F.T Hupsel - July 16, 2019
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [peace] [Gaza] [West Bank]

Egyptian security officials held meetings with Palestinian leaders over the weekend to prevent a new flare-up of tensions between Israel and the Gaza Strip and promote stronger Palestinian national unity.

According to Middle East Eye, the Egyptian delegation led by Deputy Intelligence Chief, Ayman Badee, was in the Gaza Strip on Friday and Saturday and the occupied West Bank on Saturday.

A statement released on Saturday, July 13, Hamas said the discussions included talks on “understandings with the enemy”, as a reference to the delicate cease-fire with Israel that has been challenged in recent days.

Contacted on Sunday, a Hamas official stated the movement did not want to comment further beyond its official statements.

Israel shot dead a Hamas agent on Thursday, July 11 along the border with the Gaza Strip, prompting the movement to pledge retaliation. The Hamas member was actually in charge of preventing Palestinians to approach the border.

Israel later acknowledged that it had committed a mistake, in their statement, it said soldiers misidentified the Hamas security agent as “an armed terrorist and fired as a result of this misunderstanding.”

Earlier on Friday 12 July, Israeli forces wounded at least 55 Palestinians, 33 by live ammunition, during weekly demonstrations along the Gaza-Israel boundary as part of the Great March of Return.

On Friday night, Israel’s military said two rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory, but no damage or injuries were reported.

Also on Friday 12 July, Fathi Hammad, a member of Hamas’s who is considered a hard-liner, made a statement urging members of the Palestinian diaspora to kill Jews around the world.

Hamas officials in Gaza tried to distance the organisation from Hammad’s comments, insisting that they do not represent the organisation’s official position, as reported by the Times of Israel

“These are personal statements that do not represent Hamas. They are no more than emotional comments that he may have said because of the killing of one of our members,” said an official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the Israeli press.

Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008, most recently in 2014.

Talks brought to the West Bank

Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, met with the Egyptian delegation in Ramallah on Saturday 13 July.

According to WAFA, Deputy Intelligence Chief, Ayman Badee, who led the delegation, told President Abbas that Egypt is watching Israel’s actions closely, including its continued settlement activities, excavations in occupied East Jerusalem and the home demolition and eviction orders against Palestinians.

Abbas expressed gratitude to Egypt's people and leadership for its continued support to the Palestinian people.

He reinforced the importance of Egypt’s attempts in consolidating the Gaza-Israel ceasefire and bringing about Palestinian national reconciliation and internal unity within the framework of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.

Abbas also declared the importance of Egyptian efforts to safeguard the two-state solution in line with international legitimacy and the joint Arab efforts to protect the unified Arab position regarding the Arab Peace Initiative, which has been underlined in various Arab summits.

Arab countries reaffirmed their support to the Arab Peace Initiative as the “only way to peace” during the recent Bahrain conference, while Kushner rejected it and said the U.S cannot follow the lines of the plan entirely.

The Arab Peace Initiative aims at ending the Israeli occupation and creating a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.

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