Egypt began to mediate, at the request of President Biden, between Israel and the Palestinians to achieve calm and prevent a security escalation ahead of the month of Ramadan.
Ismail Haniyeh and Ziyad Al-Nakhala, heads of Hamas and Islamic Jihad arrived in Cairo last week for talks with the head of Egyptian intelligence General Abbas Kamel on the issue, they complained about the actions of the IDF in the A areas in the West Bank, about the situation on the Temple Mount and the illegal houses demolishing in East Jerusalem and the deteriorating conditions of security prisoners in Israeli prisons.
Egyptian sources said that Egyptian Chief of Staff General Osama Askar delivered a warning to IDF Chief of Staff Hertzi Halevi from an expected explosion in the security situation in East Jerusalem and the West Bank that could destabilize the region and asked him to put pressure on the Netanyahu government to curb its actions against the Palestinians.
The conversation between the two took place a few days ago in Manama, the capital of Bahrain, during the meeting of the Chiefs of Staff of all member states of the Negev Forum, with the participation of the Commander of the US Army’s Central Command, General Michael Kurilla.
Egyptian officials claim that the Netanyahu government is showing rigid positions and refuses to make concessions to the Palestinians which would ease the tensions and help Egypt in the mediation action, they made it clear to the Biden administration, the murderous attack over the weekend at the Ramot intersection in Jerusalem only exacerbated the tensions and the Egyptians fear Israel’s response measures it will take.
The firing of the rocket last night from the Gaza Strip towards Israel that was intercepted by the Iron Dome system indicates that the Egyptian mediation has failed so far, the terrorist organizations are trying to provide an umbrella, by firing rockets from the Gaza Strip towards Israel, for the continuation of the terrorist activities in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Hamas and the Islamic Jihad are trying to maintain the formula they established of the unification of all the fronts, they are trying to push the West Bank and East Jerusalem into escalation.
The Egyptians see their interest as the first priority and that is to maintain a peaceful security situation in Egypt, clashes between Jews and Arabs on the Temple Mount on religious grounds and another round of fighting in the Gaza Strip could destabilize Egypt and this is what the Egyptians want to prevent before the month of Ramadan which is very religiously sensitive and which in recent years has been full of violent clashes between the security forces of Israel and the Palestinians.
Therefore, Egypt formulated several measures to try and reduce the tensions between Israel and the Palestinians that the Egyptian intelligence chief presented in his meetings with Ismail Haniyeh and Ziyad Al-Nakhala.
A. Facilitation on the part of Egypt for the residents of the Gaza Strip in entering and exiting the Rafah border crossing and the ease in bringing in and taking out goods through the crossing.
B. Resumption of Egyptian-mediated negotiations between Israel and Hamas on a new prisoner exchange deal.
C. Stopping the demolition of the houses in East Jerusalem and the measures against the security prisoners in the prisons in Israel until after the month of Ramadan, this is conditional on the consent of the Netanyahu government.
Egypt maintains ongoing contact with the Israeli security establishment and the National Security Council and hopes to achieve a breakthrough to reduce the chances of security escalation.
The leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad refused to give promises to the Egyptian intelligence chief to maintain calm, Hamas has not yet responded to the killing of 5 operatives of its military wing by the IDF in the Aqbat Jaber refugee camp in the Jericho area, but it seems that the response will come soon,
meanwhile the Palestinians claim that the terrorist Hossein Karake who carried out the attack in the Ramot neighborhood in Jerusalem did so in response to the killing of five Hamas terrorists in the Jericho area.
The Egyptian Chief of Staff’s warning to Israel at the meeting of the Chiefs of Staff in Bahrain reflects the Egyptian anger at the policies of the Netanyahu government and Egypt’s concern about the expected wave of escalation ahead of Ramadan, the main factor currently encouraging the escalation is the attacks by individual terrorists.
The leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad explained to the head of Egyptian intelligence that they have no control over the individual terrorists and the armed groups in the northern West Bank, however, they did not commit to stopping the incitement through their media and social networks which is the fuel that drives the individual terrorist attacks.