Attacks on Egyptian mediation undermine efforts to reach ceasefire in Gaza war: Source to Al-Qahera

Ahram Online , Wednesday 22 May 2024

Allegations that Egypt is improperly carrying out its responsibilities as a mediator between Israel and Hamas undermine efforts to reach a ceasefire in Gaza, a high-level Egyptian source told Al-Qahera News TV channel on Wednesday.

destroyed room
A Palestinian man and his children sit in a destroyed room following the targeting or a residential building by an Israeli airstrike in Rafah in the southern Gaza on May 22, 2024. AFP


"Certain parties engage in a tactic of accusing mediators of bias and blaming them, to avoid taking necessary decisions," the source added.

Furthermore, the source blamed media outlets for their reliance on so-called "knowledgeable sources", who might not be so be they American or Israeli.

On Tuesday, a CNN report claimed that Egypt had changed the terms of a Gaza ceasefire deal that Israel had already signed off on before submitting it to Hamas, surprising negotiators.

"The Egyptian intelligence quietly changed the terms of a ceasefire proposal that Israel had already signed off on earlier this month," CNN's report alleged, citing "three people familiar with the discussions."

According to CNN, the ceasefire deal that Hamas announced that it agreed to on 6 May was not what the Qatari or the American mediators believed had been submitted to Hamas.

Unsubstantiated claims

On 6 Mays, immediately after Hamas accepted the mediated deal, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made an unsubstantiated claim that Israel was not consulted on the terms included in the truce proposal and ordered a ground assault on Rafah hours later.

According to the Egyptian source, Cairo's involvement in mediating the ceasefire and the release of captives in the Gaza Strip came after persistent requests from various parties involved for it to take on this role due to Cairo's experience and capability in handling such complex negotiations.

On Tuesday, another high-level source, speaking to Al-Qahera News, accused US media of pro-Israel bias in covering the Gaza war, especially in its coverage of efforts to reach a ceasefire.

"Israeli media intentionally spreads false information to distract from its internal turmoil," the source added.

Moreover, the source affirmed that Egypt's commitment to its international obligations and treaties does not stop it from protecting its national security and upholding the historical rights of the Palestinian people.

Cairo has been exerting increased pressure on Israel over the past weeks to withdraw forces from the Palestinian city of Rafah and abandon its globally rejected plans for a full-scale invasion.

Egypt stance

Since the outbreak of the Israeli war on Gaza on 7 October, Egypt has been pushing for an extended ceasefire in Gaza and sustained access to humanitarian aid to alleviate the suffering of 2.4 million civilians who have faced a man-made famine because of a deadly Israeli blockade on the strip.

In a speech at the Arab Summit in Bahrain last week, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi called on the international community and all acting parties to cooperate "to save the future, before it is too late,” and put an immediate end to the outrageous Israeli war against the Palestinians and establish their independent state.

He noted that Egypt has engaged in ceasefire talks to save the “region from falling into a deep abyss” and that it found no “genuine international political will to end the occupation and address the root causes of the conflict through the two-state solution.”

Instead, according to El-Sisi, Egypt "found Israel continuing to evade its responsibilities and the efforts made to reach a ceasefire and even pressing ahead with its rejected military operation in Rafah and attempting to use the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing to tighten the siege on the Gaza Strip."

He reiterated Egypt’s "unwavering position in rejecting the liquidation of the Palestinian cause, the forced displacement of the Palestinians, and the Israeli approach of creating facts on the ground to make Gaza uninhabitable so Israel could expel the Palestinians from their land."

“Those who believe that security and military solutions guarantee their interests or peace are deluded,” El-Sisi asserted, noting that “similarly, those who think that brinkmanship yields benefit or gains are demonstrably mistaken.”

Also last week, Egypt announced it would intervene in support of South Africa’s genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice, becoming the sixth Arab country to join the lawsuit, following Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Libya.

After eight months, the deadly Israeli war in the Gaza Strip has killed 35,647 and wounded 79,852 - most of them women and children - and displaced over 2 million others.

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