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Relations Between PA and Egypt “Very Tense” After Abbas Rejects Cairo-Led Peace Efforts

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is said to have angered the government of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi with his rejection of an Egypt-brokered truce between Israel and Hamas to end the violence in Gaza, The Times of Israel reported Sunday.

According to a report by the London-based Al-Hayat daily newspaper, Abbas insisted that a reconciliation deal between his Fatah party and its rival Hamas take precedence over a long-term ceasefire agreement with Israel, and that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which he chairs, be part of any such deal.

Relations between the PA and Egypt are “very tense,” the report said citing Palestinian sources. Last week, Abbas reportedly refused to meet with visiting Egypt intelligence chief Abbas Kamel, a senior official involved in the reconciliation efforts between Hamas and Abbas’s Fatah party, as well as the ceasefire talks between Hamas and Israel.

During a three-day meeting of PLO officials, Abbas said the Palestinians should not “underestimate the importance of popular resistance,” a synonym often used by Palestinian officials to encourage terrorist attacks against Israel.

The PLO council said in a statement: “The truce with the Israeli occupation is the national responsibility of the PLO, which is the sole, legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.” The Council added: “It is not a factional issue.”

The council also reiterated its pledge to boycott a regional peace plan, currently drawn up by the Trump administration, which enjoys the backing of Arab states.  “The US administration is a partner of the Israeli occupation government,” the council charged. “It is part of the problem, and not part of the solution.”

Recent months have seen repeated rounds of intense violence between Israel and Hamas, along with weekly border riots at the Gaza border that have regularly included attacks on Israeli troops and attempts to infiltrate and sabotage the border fence.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, has defended Israel for its “restraint” shown in dealing with the border riots. In addition to clashes at the border, southern Israel has experienced hundreds of fires as a result of incendiary terror-kites and balloons flown over the Hamas-controlled coastal enclave.

 

[Photo: Пресс-служба Президента России / WikiCommons ]