After reports revealed that Egypt is considering to end its involvement in seeking a solution to the challenges posed in the Gaza Strip, blaming Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for the deadlock in the Cairo-brokered talks; new reports show that the Palestinian President has rejected a request by his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, to lift economic sanctions that he imposed on the Gaza Strip. Details from several phone conversations that the two leaders held about a month ago indicate that President al-Sisi warned Abbas that intensifying his measures against Gaza would jeopardize Egypt’s national security. In response, Abbas claimed that it was not he who was endangering Egyptian security, but rather the Egyptian-led process that could ultimately establish a Palestinian state, run by the Muslim Brotherhood in the Gaza Strip.
Meanwhile, Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel is currently holding a series of meetings in the Palestinian Authority, Israel and Jordan, during which he is expected to press President Mahmoud Abbas to cooperate with the Egyptian-mediated indirect talks between Israel and Hamas on a ceasefire in Gaza. According to an Egyptian source, Kamel will pass on a clear message from Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to Abbas: either he cooperates with the negotiations, or Egypt will stop its mediation efforts. Nevertheless, a Palestinian source told TV7 that the Palestinian President is not eager to partake in a process that will ultimately bolster his arch political rivals. The source noted that contrary to reports, Abbas understands that the main problem in Gaza is the internationally recognized terror group Hamas. According to this reasoning, until Hamas hands over control of the enclave to the Palestinian Authority, he will continue to thwart internationally-backed initiatives aimed at rehabilitating the Hamas-ruled territory.