Photo Credit: Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi arrives in Cairo on the first official visit to the Egyptian capital by an Israeli foreign minister in 13 years. May 30 2021

Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi arrived in Cairo on Sunday morning for talks with his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry.

Ashkenazi was received at the airport by the Egyptian deputy foreign minister. This is the first official visit to Cairo in 13 years by an Israeli foreign minister.

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While Ashkenazi is in Cairo, Egyptian intelligence had Abbas Kamel crossed the border for shuttle diplomacy meetings in Jerusalem with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in Ramallah with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, and in Gaza City with officials from the enclave’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization.

On the agenda for all four meetings is the issue of stabilizing and extending the current ceasefire agreement between Hamas and Israel, which ended Operation Guardian of the Walls – the mini-war between Israel and Hamas – earlier this month.

The current proposal Egypt is trying to broker includes the return of the four Israeli citizens – including the bodies of two fallen IDF soldiers and two live Israelis who entered Gaza on their own – and extensive reconstruction in Gaza to repair the war damage.

A total of $1.4 billion has been pledged by international and regional donors to help rebuild infrastructure and homes in the enclave. Israel, however, has said it will not sign any agreement that does not FIRST see the release of its citizens from Hamas captivity.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.