Israeli official confirms Egypt intelligence head meeting with Netanyahu
The head of Egyptian intelligence, Abbas Kamel, visited Israel as a guest of National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat. He met in Tel Aviv with Prime Minister Netanyahu and Shin Bet Director Argaman to discuss long-term ceasefire deal with Hamas.
The Al-Hayat newspaper reported earlier that Kamel met with Israeli officials in Tel Aviv on Wednesday in order to finalize the details of a long-term ceasefire deal with Hamas, which may be announced on Friday.
Kamel is also set to travel to Ramallah for a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Meanwhile, a delegation led by deputy Hamas leader in the strip Khalil al-Hayya headed to Cairo on Thursday to continue discussions on the ceasefire deal. Almost all other Palestinian factions have also sent their representatives to the Egyptian capital, with the exception of Fatah, which is still boycotting the talks.
Lebanese TV network Al Mayadeen, which is affiliated with Hezbollah, reported that the deal will include a year-long cessation of hostilities and the creation of a maritime route between the Gaza Strip and Cyprus under Israeli security supervision.
In addition, the report said that Qatar will pay the salaries of officials in Gaza together with the Egyptians, and will also pay the electricity bills in the strip in cooperation with Israel.
Ramallah officials told Al-Hayat that Kamel is to discuss both the Hamas deal as well as the internal Palestinian reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah.
Egypt has played a critical role in recent months in a bid to broker a lasting ceasefire between Israel and Hamas as tensions threaten to thrust the two warring sides into yet another military conflict.
One of the core issues under discussion is the future release of captive Israeli civilians and the remains of fallen soldiers in exchange for several humanitarian projects in Gaza.
Kamel’s visit follows two Hamas and Islamic Jihad delegations to Cairo that discussed the agreement’s details.
“A possible deal will be signed tomorrow (Friday) in the presence of all the Gaza factions,” a Palestinian official said.
Azzam al-Ahmad, a member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) executive committee, criticized the Israel-Hamas deal and called it “a betrayal of the Palestinian people and its national aspirations.”
In his interview with a Palestinian radio station al-Ahmad added that “what is happening is not negotiations but rather a resolution festival,” and stated that “our government has no time for futile celebrations, not all factions participated in the talks and we were surprised to discover the names of some movements that did participate.”