Egypt considers ending Israeli-Palestinian mediation efforts amid deadlock

Against the backdrop of the mounting tension on the Gazan border with Israel, Egyptian intelligence officials, who have been acting as mediators in efforts to calm tempers and reach a cessation of hostilities arrangement in the Palestinian enclave and implement an intra-Palestinian reconciliation deal between Fatah and Hamas, are reportedly considering bringing Egypt’s involvement to an end. An Egyptian source told TV7 that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was to blame for the deadlock in talks, which subsequently led to the deteriorating situation along the Gaza-Israel border. The source stressed that the Palestinian leader had applied serious pressure to hinder Egypt’s mediation efforts, reportedly threatening to apply additional sanctions on the Gaza Strip, unless all parties involved maintained the Palestinian Authority’s interests at the core of negotiations.

Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had reportedly rejected a request by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to lift economic sanctions that he had imposed on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. Details from phone conversations that the two leaders held about a month ago indicated that President Sisi warned his Palestinian counterpart 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 would ultimately establish a Palestinian state, run by the Muslim Brotherhood in the Gaza Strip.