Egypt’s Chief Intelligence official discusses ceasefire with PM Netanyahu

Chief of the Egyptian intelligence Agency, Abbas Kamel, met in Tel Aviv with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was accompanied by the Director of the Israeli Security Agency Nadav Argaman and National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat. According to several confirmed reports, the Egyptian intelligence official discussed with the Israeli leader the details of a long-term ceasefire with the Islamist Hamas, which according to a government source “is expected to be announced in the near future.” Following the meeting in Tel Aviv, Kamel planned to travel to the West Bank city of Ramallah for a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. While the Egyptian official was scheduled to present the Palestinian leader with the details of the Egyptian-mediated ceasefire proposal, as well as to discuss the internal Palestinian reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, a Palestinian source told TV7 that Palestinian Abbas refused to meet with Kamel. The Palestinian Authority’s refusal to meet with the Egyptian intelligence Chief came in response to a report which revealed that Qatar will share the cost, together with Egypt, of paying the salaries of Administration officials in Gaza. Furthermore, Qatar – a country that has financially backed Hamas for many years – pledged to pay the electricity bills of the Palestinian enclave in cooperation with Israel. The Qatari move, which was brokered by Egypt, effectively eliminates any leverage the Palestinian Authority had over the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, as it attempted to pressure the Islamist group (by means of financial sanctions) to force Hamas to relinquish its control over the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, a Hamas delegation that is led by the organization’s deputy leader in Gaza Khalil al-Hayya returned to Cairo to continue discussions on a ceasefire agreement. Almost all other Palestinian factions have also sent their representatives to the Egyptian capital, with the exception of Fatah, which is still boycotting the talks.