U.S assistant Secretary of State, David Walsh has recently told his Israeli counterparts that Cairo is much more interested in a long-term ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians, urging them not to impact relations with Egypt.
Walsh’s remarks came during visits from Cairo to Tel-Aviv, in which he met with the chief of security profile at the Israeli defense minister, Amos Gila’d.
Gil’ad was reported by Israeli media sources as having headed for Cairo for the second time in a week for talks with his Egyptian counterpart, intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman, who postponed a visit to Israel following Israeli deadly attacks on Gaza early in March.
Egypt wants to ensure a long-term ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza, upon which Israel stops attacks and lifts a nine-month-old blockade of the coastal enclave, in return for halting the Palestinian homemade fire attacks onto nearby Israeli areas.
Hamas, which has been in control of Gaza since June of last year, wants a halt of all Israeli attacks on Gaza and the West Bank and reopening of the Rafah crossing terminal on Gaza-Egypt border line, with a presence of personnel subordinate to which.
Israel opposes to total reopening of the crossing as well as complete lifting of the siege, as Israel wants to ensure what it terms ‘ smuggling of cash’ through the Rafah terminal to the cash-strapped Hamas government, be stopped.
Also, Israel wants broader involvement by the European observers, who left the terminal after Hamas’s takeover of Gaza, in terms of searches and check ups of passengers at the crossing.
The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, had proposed taking control of all Gaza’s crossings, including the Rafah terminal and Hamas expressed consent, provided that the 2005’s crossing operation agreement be nullified.
In January23, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians flooded into nearby Egypt for essential supplies, after breaching the Gaza-Egypt border line. Since then, Egypt and the Palestinians, including the ruling Hamas in Gaza, have been engaged in talks.