Egyptian Intelligence Chief General Abbas Kamel canceled his Wednesday’s visit to Ramallah and Gaza for talks on Fatah-Hamas reconciliation and a truce with Israel, al-Hayat reported late Wednesday night. The cancellation coincided with Israel’s launching 20 raids inside Gaza, despite an “unusual step” taken by Arab terrorist factions, including Hamas, to condemn Tuesday’s firing of Grad rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israel. According to the London-based al-Hayat, Kamel said Israel’s retaliation was an attempt to sabotage efforts to establish a truce.
United Nations coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Bulgarian diplomat Nickolay Mladenov, met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday, and described the escalation in Gaza as “very dangerous,” saying that “the rocket fire was a provocation intended to drag Israel into a conflict in Gaza.”
Mladenov also said that “the next two days will see a resolution to the issue of a truce agreement in Gaza.”
Indeed, Friday will decide the fate of the much discussed truce, which depends entirely on whether or not Hamas will urge rioters to repeat their weekly performance since last March at the Gaza border fence.
The European Union meanwhile called on the Hamas to stop rocket attacks on Israel. “Attacks targeting civilians are unacceptable,” the EU said in a statement, stressing that “the highest priority now is not to escalate.”
According to al-Hayat, the cancellation of Kamel’s visit came hours after the success of an Egyptian security delegation, which left the Gaza Strip Wednesday afternoon, to stop the deterioration of the situation and prevent war.
Senior Hamas sources told al-Hayat that the leadership of the “Supreme National Commission for the Return and Breaking the Siege” last Monday agreed to work to ease the confrontations near the eastern border of the Strip in the coming days.
The sources said that the decision to ease the confrontations with the IDF “came to reduce the losses among the protesters, and gave an opportunity for the success of Egyptian efforts to ease the Israeli siege.”
The Egyptian security delegation succeeded in preventing the slide into a fourth Israeli war on Gaza, after the launch of two Grad rockets – one aimed at Tel Aviv (it fell in the sea) and the other which hit a civilian neighborhood in Beersheba.