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Egypt Seeks to Consolidate the Truce, Move to the Second Phase

Egypt Seeks to Consolidate the Truce, Move to the Second Phase

Wednesday, 6 March, 2019 - 13:45
A member of Palestinian security forces gestures as a fuel tanker arrives at Kerem Shalom crossing in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip August 15, 2018. (photo credit: IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA/REUTERS)

Well-informed Palestinian sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that Egypt was holding intensive talks with Israel and Hamas in order to consolidate the ceasefire agreement in the Gaza Strip and move to the next phase of the agreement.

“Egypt wants a comprehensive cessation of all forms of escalation, so as to ensure the start of the implementation of the second phase of the previous cease-fire,” the sources said.

An Egyptian security delegation arrived on Tuesday in the Gaza Strip through the Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing from Israel and began an immediate meeting with Hamas politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh, who returned from Egypt this week after a 24-day visit.

The Egyptian delegation was headed by Major General Ahmed Abdel-Khaliq, head of the Palestinian file in the Egyptian intelligence service, and included Major General Omar Hanafi, Egyptian intelligence agent, Major General Ayman Badih, and Brigadier General Ahmed Farouk.

According to the sources, “Israel requires Hamas to stop all forms of violence, including incendiary balloons and multiple demonstrations, while Hamas requires the resumption of transfer of funds after it was halted because of differences over the mechanism of transfer.”

Egypt’s efforts came after previous disagreements over the transfer of funds to Hamas, which threatened the fate of the truce. Palestinian officials and Israeli sources said Hamas had recently issued warnings to Israel demanding a monthly sum of $20 million to cover the salaries of employees, or it would adopt escalatory measures.

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