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Egypt: intelligence chief wants the PA back in Gaza

November 5, 2021 at 8:20 am

Yahya Sinwar (L), Hamas’ political chief in Gaza, embraces General Abbas Kamel (R), Egypt’s intelligence chief, as the latter arrives for a meeting with leaders of Hamas in Gaza City on May 31, 2021 [MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images]

The head of Egypt’s General Intelligence Directorate believes that the return of the Palestinian Authority (PA) to the besieged Gaza Strip will be the effective development of recovery and reconstruction of the enclave. Major General Abbas Kamel made his comment to Israeli journalist Barak Ravid on the sidelines of  the COP26 UN climate summit in Scotland.

Kamel acknowledged that Hamas will not agree to this arrangement. He and his officials are working “day and night” with the movement on a possible prisoner exchange with Israel. Such an exchange was apparently part of the ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas following the Israeli bombardment of Gaza in May.

“We are working to solve the prisoner issue between Israel and Hamas as well as economic and humanitarian relief for Gaza and some kind of a return of the Palestinian Authority to Gaza, even if just symbolic,” he explained.

Egypt has traditionally played the role of mediator in conflicts between Israel and the Palestinians. Following the normalisation of ties between some Gulf States and the occupation state last year, Cairo has pushed hard to maintain this role, fearing that it may be deemed to be dispensable.

Kamel told Ravid that relations between Israel and Egypt are going well, and that there is dialogue between the countries every day.

It was reported in October that the Egyptian authorities were interested in strengthening trade relations with Israel by increasing the volume of trade through the Nitzana border crossing. This followed Kamel’s meeting with Israel’s Economy Minister Orna Barbivai when they discussed ways to support trade and economic relations.

The Egyptian intelligence official also revealed that he plans to visit Israel later this month for talks with Prime Minister Naftali Bennet and senior colleagues. The trip could also include a visit to Ramallah for talks with PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

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