EGYPT SENDING INTEL CHIEF TO PRESENT CEASEFIRE AGREEMENT
by Nissan Ratzlav-Katz (Israel National News)
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said that his country has brokered an agreement in which the Palestinian Authority terrorist factions, including Hamas, Fatah and Islamic Jihad, have all agreed to a ceasefire with Israel.
Omar Suleiman, Egypt’s top intelligence chief, will visit Israel shortly after Independence Day, which falls on Thursday. PA factions and militias meeting in Cairo on Wednesday managed to agree to a ceasefire designed by Egypt.
Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Mubarak said that Suleiman “will head to Israel after the celebrations there to discuss the ceasefire with the Israelis. The visit comes after we agreed with Hamas, the PLO and other Palestinian factions like the Jihad.”
Last week, it was reported that 12 PA factions and militias meeting in Cairo on Wednesday managed to agree to a ceasefire designed by Egypt. The proposal includes a six-month “period of calm,” in exchange for ending counterterrorist operations and lifting the partial embargo Israel has imposed on Gaza.
In addition, the Rafiah crossing into Egypt would be opened, placed under the control of militia forces loyal to PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas and overseen by monitors from the European Union. Previous EU oversight on the border ended with the monitors withdrawing in fear when faced with Hamas terrorist threats.
According to Israeli officials, Suleiman is not expected to arrive until the beginning of next week at the earliest. Suleiman, as a representative of Egypt, has frequently acted as a go-between for Hamas and Israel for the purposes of negotiations. Israel officially rejects direct talks with Hamas, which has the declared goal of Israel’s destruction.
The Egyptian government-controlled news agency MENA said that a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas was one of Mubarak’s “urgent priorities.” However, on three separate occasions last month, Egypt postponed an announced visit by Suleiman to Israel.
A Saudi Arabian newspaper published in London, A-Sharq Al-Awsat, reported this week that Israel is likely to agree to the demands that the Gaza area crossings be opened. The newspaper also noted that the ceasefire came with a threat: Hamas said it would increase attacks on Jews if Israel failed to agree to a truce on Arab terms.