Egyptian Intelligence Chief Visited Israel to Discuss Hamas Cease-fire

According to the Al-Hayat newspaper, Maj. Gen. Abbas Kamel was in Tel Aviv to 'discuss the final details of an integrated agreement that included Israel's approval of the truce'

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi (R) shakes hands after the swearing in of Major General Abbas Kamel, newly appointed chief of the country's General Intelligence Service on Thursday at the Ittihadiya presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, June 28, 2018.
\ HANDOUT/ REUTERS

The head of Egypt's General Intelligence visited Israel on Wednesday in an attempt to advance talks for a prolonged cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, the U.K.-based daily Al-Hayat reported Thursday. An Israeli source later confirmed Maj. Gen. Abbas Kamel's visit, adding that he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

According to Palestinian sources quoted in the report, Kamel was in Tel Aviv to "discuss the final details of an integrated agreement that included Israel's approval of the truce," as well as plans for humanitarian initiatives in Gaza, indirect negotiations with Hamas for exchanging prisoners and the Palestinian reconciliation.

Kamel was also expected to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah during his visit, according to the report, as Cairo works to involve the PA in the talks and have it reassume control of the Strip.

However, a source in Abbas' bureau told Haaretz that there had yet to be a request by the Egyptians to arrange the arrival of Kamel. The source said that the Egyptians demanded that a Fatah delegation arrive in Cairo to meet with leaders of other Palestinian factions, a demand Abbas has refused since the negotiated deal currently doesn't promise Palestinian Authority control over the Gaza Strip.

On Tuesday, officials from Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian groups traveled to Egypt to continue talks about a Hamas-Fatah reconciliation and a long-term truce with Israel.

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Thursday's report came as Palestinian Liberation Organization official Azza al-Ahmad slammed the truce reached between Hamas and Israel as a "betrayal of the Palestinian people and its national cause," according to the Palestinian news agency Wafa. The comments, which reportedly angered Cairo, also went on to note that any enduring cease-fire agreement should involve all Palestinian factions.

The cease-fire went into effect Wednesday, following the approval of Israel's security cabinet. The understandings are based on the principles that were agreed upon by the parties at the end of the 2014 Operation Protective Edge. These include, in the first stage, lifting restrictions at the Kerem Shalom commercial crossing and on the fishing area in Gaza, in addition to rehabilitation of Gaza infrastructure, in return for a cessation of attacks from both sides.