Palestinians and Israelis to hold follow-up talks in Egypt’s Sharm El-Sheikh on Sunday

Samar Al-Gamal , Saturday 18 Mar 2023

Palestinian and Israeli officials are due to meet on Sunday in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh for a follow-up meeting to last month's Aqaba summit, informed sources told Ahram Online.

Left-wing Israeli activists and Palestinians lift Palestinian flags and banners against Israeli occupation and settlement activity in the neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, on March 17, 2023. AFP


Secretary of the Executive Committee of the Palestinian Authority Hussein Al-Sheikh and the Head of the Intelligence Service Majed Faraj will represent the Palestinian delegation in Sunday’s meeting.

Former Palestinian minister Hassan Asfour told Ahram Online that the Presidential Advisor for Diplomatic Affairs Majdi Al-Khaldi might also join.

Three weeks after the Aqaba summit in Jordan, the two sides will discuss measures to reduce tensions before Ramadan.

The so-called "security" meeting will have the same format as the previous summit, with the participation of officials from the Palestinian Authority, Israel, Jordan, Egypt and the United States.

The fate of the Sharm El-Sheikh meeting was "uncertain" after the recent escalations by Israeli occupation forces and settlers, a Palestinian source told Ahram Online earlier this week. 

However, Asfour, as well as two other sources familiar with the matter, confirmed that the two sides have agreed to attend the meeting with the main objective of monitoring the agreements reached in Aqaba and discussing implementing policies on the ground before and during the holy month of Ramadan.

The February meeting in Jordan led to an agreement on a temporary freeze on Israeli settlements, which Tel Aviv later revoked. 

The Aqaba statement ended with an agreement to establish a joint security committee to examine renewing Israeli-Palestinian security cooperation and another to establish a civilian committee to advance confidence-building economic measures. 

However, Israeli crackdowns continued in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Since the Aqaba summit, Israel has killed 18 Palestinians and wounded at least 400 others.

On 11 March, the Palestinian Authority initiated a rare meeting with Palestinian factions to try to persuade them to keep tensions low especially during Ramadan. However, Hamas and Islamic Jihad boycotted the meeting, while other factions called on PA leaders to end security coordination with Israel.

Hamas, who recently sent a high-level delegation to Russia for talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, warned Israel against "any attempt to use the upcoming month of Ramadan to alter the status quo in Jerusalem, saying "it will provoke an angry response from Palestinians." 

The Haram Al-Sharif compound (the Temple Mount) is expected to be one of the most volatile and complicated issues discussed during the talks in Sharm El-Sheikh. 

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