Israeli FM in Cairo to reinforce Gaza-related ceasefire

Ahram Online , Sunday 30 May 2021

An Egyptian-brokered ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian factions has ended 11 days of Israeli aggression that killed more than 250 and injured thousands of Palestinians

Shoukry and Ashkenazi
Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry during a meeting with his Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi in Cairo on Sunday (Photo courtesy of Egyptian Foreign Ministry)


Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi arrived in Cairo on Sunday for talks with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry, in the first such official visit by a top Israeli diplomat to Egypt in 13 years.

Egypt's Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Ahmed Hafez, said Shoukry's meeting with Ashkenazi comes within the framework of Egypt's relentless and continuous efforts to revive the peace process and build on the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire between Israel and Palestine – which has ended 11 days of Israeli airstrikes' aggression that killed more than 250 and injured thousands of Palestinians.

In a tweet on Saturday, Ashkenazi said he would discuss with Shoukry establishing a permanent ceasefire with Hamas, which controls the Palestinian Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, Egypt, the United States and other regional partners are working to reinforce the truce.

During his regional tour of Egypt, Jordan, Jerusalem and Ramallah, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Egypt was a real and effective partner in dealing with the latest violence between Israel and the Palestinians. 

Egypt and the US are working together to let Israelis and Palestinians live in safety and security, Blinken said, according to Reuters.

The top Israeli diplomat added that he will also have talks with Shoukry on a mechanism for providing humanitarian aid and the reconstruction of Gaza, with a pivotal role played by the international community.

Ashkenazi's visit comes as a high-level Egyptian security delegation, led by head of Egypt's General Intelligence Service (GIS) Abbas Kamel, was dispatched to Israel on Sunday to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss means to firm up the ceasefire with the Palestinians.

On 18 May, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi announced the allocation of $500 million as part of an Egyptian initiative for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip – with the involvement of Egyptian companies – where tens of buildings had been destroyed leaving hundreds of Palestinians homeless in the enclave.

Blinken pledged last week an additional $75 million in development and economic aid to the Palestinians in 2021, $5.5 million in immediate disaster relief for Gaza and $32 million to the UN Palestinian aid agency.

This brings overall US assistance to Palestinians under the Biden administration to over $360 million after the previous administration led by Trump cut off assistance to Palestine.

 Moreover, Blinken warned against actions by Israel or the Palestinians that risk inciting tensions or ultimately undermining the two-state solution, to which he said Washington is still committed.

Such actions, he said, include Israeli settlement activity in occupied territory Palestinians seek for a state, possible Israeli evictions of Palestinians from East Jerusalem, and incitement to militant violence on the Palestinian side.

On 27 May, the top UN human rights body passed a resolution aimed to intensify scrutiny of Israel's treatment of Palestinians, after the UN rights chief said Israeli forces may have committed war crimes.


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