Sisi and Abbas meet to discuss Gaza ceasefire deal

Sisi and Abbas meet to discuss Gaza ceasefire deal
3 min read
04 November, 2018
Egypt's President Sisi and his Palestinian counterpart have met in the resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh to discuss the situation in Gaza.
Sisi and Abbas met at Sharm el-Sheikh on Saturday [file photo-Getty]

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met with his Palestinian counterpart on Saturday, to discuss a planned ceasefire deal covering the besieged Gaza Strip.

The meeting with President Mahmoud Abbas was held at the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, to look into a possible agreement between Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Qatar and Hamas.

The deal would see a crippling joint Israeli-Egyptian siege on Gaza eased and help restore economic activity in the territory.

Sisi wants Abbas to accept the deal, which would entail the president's Palestinian Authority agreeing to reconciliation with rival Hamas - which runs the Gaza Strip - after a decade-long hiatus.

This would require the PA gradually paying the salaries of public sector workers in Gaza, with Qatar contributing funds to begin with, as well as oil supplies.

"Sisi is pressuring [Abbas] to back the plan for calm by agreeing to pay salaries and to take the responsibility for Qatar passing funds to Hamas leaders in the Strip," analyst Ehud Yaari told Times of Israel.

The PA would pay 80 percent of the government workers' salaries after six months, when Qatar would reduce its assistance, according to Lebanese website Al-Akhbar.

Ramallah would act as middle-men for funding to Gaza, due to international donors being unwilling to provide aid directly to Hamas.

Abbas would also agree to a "graded reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas that will eventually bring Abbas back to Gaza" according to the deal, with the PA eventually governing the besieged Palestinian enclave.

The crippling siege on Gaza would also be eased, with Egypt opening its Rafah border crossing, while Israel would allow in some supplies essential for the territory to rebuild after numerous crippling wars levelled huge parts of the territory.

A three-year ceasefire would require Hamas to end border protests and stop militias in Gaza firing rockets into Israel.

Egyptian officials were seen at the Gaza border on Friday with Hamas security officials, monitoring the tense region.

Weekly protests on the Gaza border has seen Israeli troops firing on crowds, killing around 200 unarmed Palestinians.

Friday saw a sharp de-escalation in Israeli violence on the protesters, in a sign that Israel could be taking the planned ceasefire deal seriously.

Gaza's limited fishing zone should also be extended according to the agreement, which would help kick-start the strip's besieged territory.

Hamas has ruled the strip since expelling Fatah from Gaza after a low-grade civil war between the two rival Palestinian factions broke out between 2006 and 2007.

It was sparked after Hama won national elections with the results rejected by Abbas' Fatah Party, which sought to take control of Palestinian territories.