Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (R) meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas in the Egyptian capital Cairo on November 8.
(photo credit: AFP PHOTO)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas urged Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Sisi on Sunday to use his influence with international parties to pressure Israel to stop “provocations and assaults” against the Aksa Mosque, in the wake of the current wave of violence, a PA official in Ramallah said.
In their talks in Cairo, Abbas briefed Sisi on “continued Israeli violations against the Aksa Mosque in particular and Palestinians in general,” the official said.
The Palestinian leader has come under intense pressure from Palestinians, including top members of the Palestine Liberation Organization and Fatah, to cut off all ties with Israel and cancel the Oslo Accords in response to Israel’s “failure to meet its commitments towards the peace process.”
He has been seeking Egypt and other Arab backing for any decision the PA might take to suspend security, political and economic ties with Israel.
Abbas and Sisi also discussed the situation in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and Egypt’s continued closure of the Rafah border crossing.
The Egyptian army has in the past week flooded smuggling tunnels along the border with Gaza with seawater – a move that has resulted in the collapse of scores of subterranean passages, according to Palestinian sources in Gaza.
Sisi stressed that Egypt’s current security measures along the Gaza border were being carried out in full coordination with the PA leadership.
Some Palestinians expect Sisi to try to arrange a sulha (reconciliation) between Abbas and ousted Fatah rival, Mohamed Dahlan. Dahlan, who lives in the United Arab Emirates, has close relations with Sisi and the new regime in Egypt. Sisi said that the return of the PA to Gaza would have a positive impact and lead to a permanent reopening of the Rafah border terminal.
Abbas is also scheduled to meet later this week with Jordan’s King Abdullah and Saudi monarch Salman bin Abdel Aziz to discuss tensions with Israel over the Temple Mount. Abbas is also hoping to enlist the support of Jordan and Saudi Arabia for any controversial decision he takes regarding the future of relations with Israel.
The three Arab countries are unlikely to support any unilateral move by Abbas or the PLO or Fatah, out of fear that such a step would aggravate tensions and further destabilize the situation in the region.