Rumors have begun about negotiations taking place with Egypt regarding the Palestinian Authority, as Hamas leaders, Palestinian President Abbas, and the Israeli Foreign Minister were all spotted crossing to Egypt on separate occasions today. Although no announcements were made as to the results of the meetings, it appears that Egyptian President Husni Mubarak has appealed to the heads of state of Qatar and Saudi Arabia on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, requesting financial assistance.The request follows the withdrawal of funds from the Palestinian Authority by a number of actors, including the World Bank, who announced today that they would December’s financial support for the Palestinian Authority due to a ‘lack of reforms’ in the government.
After Hamas’ victory in Palestinian legislative elections last week, Israel issued an unequivocal statement that it would not negotiate with a ‘terrorist government’ unless Hamas renounced violence and recognized the state of Israel.
The Egyptian President may find himself in the unlikely role of ‘peacemaker’ in the conflict, as each side appears to be meeting with him in a possible attempt to negotiate a dialogue. Last year, Mubarak managed to negotiate a supposed cease-fire between Hamas and other Palestinian resistance groups and the government of Israel, a ceasefire which both sides have accused the other of violating. According to the Israeli government’s figures, one Israeli was killed by Hamas since the ceasefire. Meanwhile, the Palestinian National Information Center released a report today alleging 25,997 violations of various types by the Israeli military – including roadblocks, arrests, injuries and 180 Palestinians killed since last year’s ‘ceasefire’ began.
The focus and result of today’s meetings in Egypt remains unclear for all sides.