Egyptian PM delegation headed to Gaza

Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil expected to arrive in Gaza tomorrow for talks with Hamas.

By KHALED ABU TOAMEH

 

A high-level Egyptian delegation is expected to arrive in the Gaza Strip Friday for talks with Hamas leaders on ways of ending the current round of fighting with Israel, a Hamas spokesman said.

PM Hisham Kandil speaks to Egyptian cabinet

PM Hisham Kandil speaks to Egyptian cabinet
Photo: REUTERS/Handout .

The delegation will be headed by Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil and will consist of a number of Egyptian cabinet ministers, Taher a-Nunu, spokesman for the Hamas government, announced Thursday.

This would be the first visit to the Gaza Strip by an Egyptian prime minister.

Nunu expressed appreciation for Egypt’s decision to dispatch the delegation to the Gaza Strip. He said the planned visit “reflected Egypt’s brave stance toward the conflict.” Kandil’s visit to the Gaza Strip is seen in the context of Egypt’s efforts to achieve a cease-fire between Hamas and Israel.

The visit comes as some Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip expressed disappointment over Egypt’s “mild response to the Israeli aggression” on the Gaza Strip.

The officials said that they were expecting Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi to take a tougher stance toward the conflict.

“Recalling the ambassador is just a symbolic act,” said one official, referring to Egypt’s decision to recall its ambassador to Israel for consultations.

“We were expecting Morsi to at least threaten to cut off diplomatic ties with Israel.” Meanwhile, defiant Hamas leaders continued to issue threats against Israel in response to Wednesday’s assassiantion of Ahmed Jabari, the commander of the movement’s armed wing, Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades.

Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas, denied that his movement had asked the Egyptians to broker a cease-fire with Israel.

Barhoum said the talk about a possible cease-fire was a “new Israeli trick.” Barhoum said that Hamas was determined to foil Israel’s “goals” against the movement and the Gaza Strip.

He said that Hamas’s response to the IDF strikes were aimed at “setting new features for the nature of the conflict [with Israel].” Israel, he added, is “living under an illusion if it thinks that it would be able to weaken Hamas and the resistance.” Abu Obaida, spokesman for Hamas’s armed wing, said that the coming days would be more difficult for Israel. He vowed that his group would continue to launch rockets and missiles “at the heart of occupied Palestine.” Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has decided to cut his current tour to a number of EU countries and return to Ramallah in light of the Hamas-Israel confrontation.

A PA official accompanying Abbas to his visit to Switzerland said that the PA president was “following the developments in the Gaza Strip and making efforts to put pressure on Israel to halt its aggression.” Abbas was also scheduled to visit France as part of his efforts to rally support for his plan to ask the UN later this month to upgrade the status of a Palestinian state.

Abbas has also called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the IDF operation in the Gaza Strip.

 

View original Jerusalem Post publication at: http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=292069

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