Israel must cooperate, says Aboul Gheit

Abdel-Rahman Hussein
3 Min Read

CAIRO: Israel must cooperate in this “critical phase to achieve the goal of a peace treaty by the end of the year, Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said Friday.

Aboul Gheit was in London to attend the International Donors’ Conference for the Palestinian state and met with Israeli counterpart Tzipi Livni as well as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

A foreign ministry statement said that Aboul Gheit “asserted in his talks with the Quartet members the importance of the international community’s active intervention to carve the option of two states, which was supported by the international meeting, yet it will be difficult to implement in case Israel continued its current settlement activity.

Aboul Gheit also called for “the necessity of more neutrality and justice between both sides.

The Foreign Minister outlined the obstacles that need to be addressed such as “Israel maintaining its settlement policy in the West Bank, including Jerusalem and its surroundings, in addition to the barricades and checkpoints which paralyze the movement of people and trade, and feed the Palestinian situation with more desperation.

Aboul Gheit announced that Livni would attend the World Economic Forum to be held in Sharm El-Sheikh May 18-20.

The attendees at the conference also concurred that the siege of the Gaza strip needed to be lifted because of the worsening human conditions.

Egypt is currently attempting to broker a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian factions in Gaza including Hamas which could see the end of the siege.

A Hamas spokesman, Ayman Taha, said Saturday that Intelligence chief Omar Suleiman would travel to Israel on Monday to present the terms of the ceasefire agreement Egypt has already established with the Palestinian factions.

“Omar Suleiman will head to Israel after the celebrations [of its 60th anniversary] to discuss the truce with the Israelis, President Hosni Mubarak said in response to a question during a visit to an industrial complex.

“The visit comes after we agreed with Hamas, the PLO and other Palestinian factions like (Islamic) Jihad, Mubarak said.

Taha placed the onus on Israel to bring an end to the violence since the factions in Gaza have already agreed to the terms of the ceasefire.

Egypt is attempting to negotiate a truce between Hamas and Israel in Gaza, which would lead to the lifting of the blockade on the strip and thus prevent further breaches of the Egypt-Rafah border.

Egypt’s mediation plan consists of Hamas ending rocket fire into Southern Israel, with Israel reciprocating in Gaza, accompanied by a prisoner exchange of 400 Palestinian prisoners for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and the opening of border crossings between Gaza and Israel.

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