Ahmad Abu al-Gheit, the Egyptian Foreign Minister, strongly criticized Israeli officials who appose the upcoming Israeli-Egyptian agreement to deploy Egyptian forces along the borders of the Gaza Strip.

Israel and Egypt are slated to sign an agreement to deploy 7500 Egyptian soldiers along the Gaza borders.

The Israeli online daily Haaretz interviewed abu al-Gheit in Egypt on Sunday at his Cairo office.

Abu al-Gheit said that Israeli officials opposing the deployment of the forces are only trying to complicate the efforts to reach a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

Also, abu al-Gheit added that Egypt is monitoring the public debate in Israel over the security arrangements in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli member of Knesset, Yuval Steinitz, believes that the presence of Egyptian troops “harms the Israeli interests”. 

Meanwhile, Israeli military officials hope the Egyptian presence will enable it combat arms smuggling more efficiently.

Abu al-Gheit said that the Israeli officials who have worries concerning the presence of Egyptian forces on the borders are “irresponsible”.

“We aren’t talking about amendments of the Israeli-Egyptian peace deal, we are talking here about an understanding to deploy 750 soldiers, Israel should not be worried about that, any way our forces are already present there, but in the form of civilian police”, abu al-Gheit added.

Referring to Israeli-Egyptian relations, abu al-Gheit said described it “warm”.

“Egypt uses it capacities to lead Israel and the P.A to a point where they can solve their conflicts, the Israeli withdrawal will open the way to a more strategic approach to reach an agreement, the Sharm al-Sheikh summit also helped in achieving a better condition”.

Commenting on the Egyptian relations with Hamas, abu al-Gheit said that Egypt is committed to talks and negotiations with all Palestinian movements, and that Hamas officials were always ready to negotiate.

“Understanding between the Palestinian factions is helpful and enables the Palestinians to decide for themselves, Hamas, Palestinian factions and people have the right to decide for themselves, we will encourage all internal agreements”. 

Abu al-Gheit added that Hamas recognizes the existence of Israel but it demands that Israel recognize the Palestinian land, and should withdraw for all of the occupied territories.