Abbas Kamal, a senior Egyptian intelligence official, visited Tel Aviv yesterday and is slated to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss the situation in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, London-based Al-Hayat newspaper reported. Kamal and the PA president will meet to discuss both the issue of Palestinian reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah as well as the future of Gaza. According to the report, Kamal met with Israeli officials on Wednesday and spoke about a possible prisoner exchange deal and updated them on the results of the recent talks between Hamas and Fatah in Egypt. Meanwhile, representatives of the Popular Front and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine are expected to arrive in Cairo Thursday morning and join the series of meetings.These meetings in Israel follow previous clandestine meetings with Egypt. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met secretly in Cairo in May with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to discuss ways to end the violence in Gaza.According to a Channel 10 report, Netanyahu traveled to Cairo with a small number of advisers and security guards on May 22, when he joined Sisi in the Iftar feast breaking the Ramadan fast. It occurred just a week after the US moved its embassy to Jerusalem, and violence along the Gaza border peaked when 62 Palestinians were killed in riot. According to the report, Sisi said that the solution to the crisis in Gaza “runs through” a return of the Palestinian Authority to Gaza, and its taking responsibility for the Strip – even if all of PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ conditions for returning to Gaza were not met. The report said Sisi’s message was that Israel, the Arab world, and the international community needed to press Abbas to return to Gaza, even though he is opposed.
Netanyahu and Sisi last met publicly on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York last September. They have reportedly held other clandestine meetings over the years, as security and intelligence ties between the two countries are believed to be as close as they have ever been.The relative quiet of the last few days led Israel to open the Kerem Shalom on Wednesday to trucks bringing supplies into Gaza. That crossing has been largely closed since mid-July, as a response to the wave of incendiary balloons and kites that set alight thousands of dunams around the Gaza Strip. Following the security cabinet meeting on Wednesday – the fourth meeting held on Gaza over the last 10 days – one diplomatic official said there would not be a “true arrangement” with Hamas without the return to Israel of the bodies of the two IDF soldiers and the two Israeli citizens being held in the Strip. “The current quiet is a result of the aggressive actions of the IDF, which will continue as needed,” the official said.Herb Keinon and Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this articled. Yvette J. Deane translated this article.
Israel lets food, goods back into Gaza as Egypt pushes truce, August 15, 2018 (Reuters)