Egypt sent a tough message to the Palestinians on Tuesday, with Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit saying that "the Palestinian situation is marred by sharp divisions and battling; it is a misery and shameful for any Arab and any Palestinian,"
Speaking to al-Ahram newspaper, Abul Gheit said the Palestinian government under Hamas' leadership should back efforts to revive the peace process.
Aboul Gheit criticized Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, who is feuding with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction, for rejecting an Arab peace initiative which recognizes the state of Israel and endorses the land-for-peace principle.
"The Palestinian prime minister rejects this initiative; then why doesn't he search for another one?" Aboul Gheit said, according to the interview.
He said the first step for reviving the peace process would be the release of an Israeli soldier - abducted by a Hamas-linked group on June 25 - in exchange for Israel freeing 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.
But, he said, that won't be accomplished without "an internal Palestinian reconciliation."
The newspaper quoted him as saying that Egypt, during the last visit of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to the region, that the United States formulate a new version of the "road map" peace plan in which Washington would present its vision of an independent Palestinian state.