Egypt may be compelled to withdraw from mediator role in Gaza truce talks if Western smear campaign continues: SIS head

Zeinab El-Gundy , Wednesday 22 May 2024

The CNN report published on Tuesday claiming that "Egypt changed the terms of the latest ceasefire deal in early May in Gaza" is baseless and lacks factual information, State Information Service (SIS) head Diaa Rashwan stated on Wednesday.

Diaa Rashwan
File Photo: The head of Egypt s State Information Service (SIS) Diaa Rashwan. Photo courtesy of SIS website.


In a statement challenging the US news network to cite specific official American or Israeli sources for its claims, Rashwan emphasized that the report does not rely on credible journalistic sources, thus violating globally recognized professional journalistic standards.

He urged CNN and all international media to verify the accuracy of what they publish on such sensitive issues and to avoid basing their reports on anonymous sources referred to as "informed sources."

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."

Taking their queue from an Israeli claim, CNN reported that 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.

On 6 May, 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.

Rashwan said Egypt categorically rejects these allegations and that the SIS has sent an official letter to CNN refuting them with supporting evidence.

He added that the SIS has demanded that CNN publish Egypt's response immediately.

Rashwan said CNN had complied and published parts of this response, including some of the observations mentioned in this statement.


He explained that such an inaccurate article with false claims does not contribute to—and perhaps even aims to—tarnish Egypt's prominent and principal role in ceasefire negotiations in the Gaza Strip since the onset of the Israeli bloody aggression about eight months ago.

He expressed Egypt's astonishment at attempts by some parties to undermine the immense efforts it has made—and continues to make—over the past months to achieve a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and prevent the daily killing and injury of hundreds of innocent civilians and the systematic destruction of all aspects of life in the strip.

The SIS chief further pointed out that Egypt has recently noticed certain parties repeatedly accusing mediators, first Qatar and now Egypt, of bias toward one side and accusing them of procrastinating and evading firm decisions on the ceasefire deal and the release of Israeli captives in Gaza in exchange for Palestinian prisoners.

Rashwan hinted that these attempts to cast aspersions on the Egyptian role serve personal political interests and address significant internal political crises.

He added that Egypt's mediation role in the ceasefire deal and the release of captives in Gaza and prisoners in Israel was undertaken at the behest of Israel and the United States due to their understanding of Egypt's expertise and capabilities in handling such negotiations, given previous successful attempts at mediating between Israel and Hamas.

Standing up for Palestine

Rashwan said that spreading false information and promoting lies about Egypt's role constitutes an attempt to punish Egypt for its integrity and firm stance on the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, even while playing the role of mediator.

He cited Egypt's recent insistence on having Palestinian elements running the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing as a condition for Egypt to operate it from its side and Egypt's refusal to recognize the legitimacy of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian side of the crossing.

These attempts also aim to undermine Egypt for its insistence on the implementation of international law and international humanitarian law by joining South Africa in the case before the International Court of Justice against the Israeli occupation army's practices in Gaza, he added.

Rashwan concluded his statements by emphasizing that continued attempts to undermine and insult Egyptian mediation efforts with baseless claims will only further complicate the situation in Gaza and the entire region.

“This may compel the Egyptian side to withdraw from its mediation role in the current conflict,” he noted.

Finally, Rashwan held the concerned parties, especially those spreading lies about the Egyptian position, fully responsible for the unprecedented humanitarian catastrophes and the genocide in Gaza, the killing and injury of thousands of innocent Palestinians, their displacement, starvation, and the destruction of everything in the strip, as well as the potential loss of lives of Israeli captives due to the aggressive Israeli military operation in Gaza.

In recent days, 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.

Unsubstantiated claims

Early on Wednesday, a high-level Egyptian described, in a statement to Al-Qahera News TV channel, the claims that Egypt is improperly carrying out its responsibilities as a mediator between Israel and Hamas as an attempt to undermine Egypt's efforts to reach a ceasefire in Gaza.

The source confirmed that Cairo's involvement in mediating a ceasefire and the release of captives in the Gaza Strip came after persistent requests from various parties involved due to Cairo's experience and proven 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 draw attention away 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.

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