Egypt threatens to stop acting as mediator

Egypt threatens to back out as mediator between Hamas and Israel and Hamas and Fatah, according to reports Sunday.

By Jack Gold, World Israel News

In the face of growing tensions in the Gaza Strip, Egyptian intelligence threatens to quit its role as mediator in bringing about a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel.  It also wants to drop its efforts in the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation process, Israel Hayom reported Sunday.

A Hamas delegation headed by political bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh and a delegation of Fatah leaders who met with senior Egyptian intelligence officials last week were informed of the Egyptians’ decision to reconsider their continued involvement in the Gaza issue and the reconciliation efforts, according to the report. The delegations, which were scheduled to be in Cairo for a few days, left the Egyptian capital after only 24 hours.

A senior security official in Egypt told Israel Hayom that this was the reason for Hamas’ renewed violence on the border with Israel.

Military confrontation likely

If Egypt stops its involvement in the talks, it is highly likely that a military confrontation will erupt in Gaza, the official stated. He said this is the reason for the increasing violence by Hamas on Israel’s border.

Dozens of fire balloons sent from Gaza caused four fires on Saturday and seven on Friday. One of the largest fires in the past six months broke out on Saturday near the greenhouses in Moshav Ein Habesor in Eshkol.

Some 20,000 Palestinian rioters gathered on Friday along the border fence with Israel, hurling bombs and grenades at IDF soldiers, setting fire to tires and attempting to break through the border fence with Israel. In response, an IDF aircraft carried out two strikes in Gaza.

The Health Ministry in Gaza reported three deaths, including a 12-year-old boy, and more than 400 wounded.

Egyptian Plan

The plan formulated by the Egyptian mediators included several stages, starting with a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. In the second stage, the bodies of two Israelis, Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, were to be returned and hundreds of millions of dollars were to be invested in Gaza projects and infrastructure. The third stage involved reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah and the gradual return of control of the Gaza Strip to the PA.

The Egyptian source pointed out that while Hamas was prepared to discuss the plan, PA Chief Mahmoud Abbas refused even to listen to it and demanded that Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi cancel it immediately.

Egyptian and Palestinian sources say that in his talks with Al-Sisi and other Arab leaders, Abbas stressed that if the Egyptian mediation between Israel and Hamas continued without including the PA, it would impose severe sanctions on Gaza.

A senior official in Ramallah reiterated to Israel Hayom that Abbas would not tolerate negotiations with Hamas as sovereign in Gaza.