Egypt-mediated talks between Israel and Hamas could result in a prisoner exchange.
Egyptian authorities have invited Israel, Hamas, and the Palestinian Authority to separate truce talks mediated by Egypt, which might include a prisoner swap, an Egyptian intelligence officer told the Associated Press on Thursday.
The negotiations are aimed at sustaining the cease-fire that ended 11 days of bloodshed between Israel and the Gaza Strip’s Hamas rulers. The talks could start next week, according to an Egyptian official who spoke on the condition of anonymity, and there are talks about Palestinian detainees being exchanged for the release of Israelis by Hamas.
“We are seeking a long-term cease-fire that will allow for more discussions and possibly direct talks,” stated an Egyptian official.
According to the Associated Press, an anonymous Israeli official declined to confirm if they would attend the talks, but an Egyptian official said Israel had given preliminary clearance.
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The discussions will also focus on speeding up Gaza’s rehabilitation.
The Egyptian official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorised to brief reporters, was intimately familiar with the events that led to the ceasefire.
The 11-day conflict claimed the lives of over 250 people, predominantly Palestinians, and wreaked havoc on the impoverished coastal area. The damage is expected to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, according to preliminary estimates. Egypt played a crucial role in facilitating a deal between the two parties.
He stated that the talks’ ultimate agenda is still being worked upon. Both topics were reviewed with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during his visit yesterday and with Qatar’s Foreign Minister on Tuesday in Cairo.
According to an Israeli official, the government is cooperating closely with Egyptian officials in order to “enforce the cease-fire.” Because he was discussing behind-the-scenes diplomacy, he talked on the condition of anonymity.
Blinken ended up a two-day trip to the Middle East on Wednesday, with the goal of cementing the ceasefire and seeking funds for reconstruction. One of the U.S. goals is to ensure that any assistance be kept out of the hands of Hamas, which opposes Israel’s right to exist and which Israel and the U.S. consider a terrorist group.
The Egyptian official said one possible mechanism for ensuring that is an international committee led by Egypt or the United Nations. This is a brief summary.