Israel, Egypt officers meet to solidify Gaza rebuilding plan

Cairo, May 30

Egypt and Israel held high-level talks in both countries on Sunday to shore up a fragile truce between Israel and the Hamas militant group and rebuild the Gaza Strip after a punishing 11-day war that left parts of the seaside enclave in ruins.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukry received his Israeli counterpart, Gabi Ashkenazi, in Cairo on Sunday as part of Egypt’s efforts to revive the West Asia peace process and “build on the ceasefire in Gaza”, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said.

It was the first public visit by an Israeli foreign minister to Egypt since 2008, the Israeli Embassy in Cairo said. It wrote that the two ministers would discuss topics, including the ceasefire and the release of Israeli soldiers and citizens being held by Hamas. “We will discuss establishing a permanent ceasefire with Hamas, a mechanism for providing humanitarian aid and the reconstruction of Gaza with a pivotal role played by the international community,” Ashkenazi tweeted upon arrival in Cairo.

Hamas is holding the remains of two Israeli soldiers killed in a 2014 war. It also is holding two Israeli civilians who were captured after entering Gaza. As part of the ceasefire efforts, Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu hosted Abbas Kamel, Egypt’s intelligence chief, in Jerusalem. Netanyahu said he had raised the issue of returning the remains of soldiers and the two civilians as well as Israeli demands to prevent Hamas from gaining strength or diverting resources meant for the civilian population. — AP

Hamas leader to visit Cairo this week

  • Egypt last week invited Israel, Hamas and the Palestinian authority for separate talks in the capital to consolidate the Cairo-mediated ceasefire and accelerate the reconstruction process in Gaza
  • Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh is expected to visit Cairo this week. Its spokesman has said Hamas is open to discussing a prisoner swap with Israel

Netanyahu’s opponents step up efforts to oust him

Jerusalem: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu manoeuvred on Sunday to try to dissuade opponents from forming a “government of change”, with reports saying a deal to unseat him could be imminent. A mandate for opposition chief Yair Lapid to put together a coalition after four inconclusive elections in two years expires on Wednesday. Media said Lapid was closing in on an alliance of right-wingers, centrists and leftists. AP

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