The international community has thrown its support behind Egypt’s ceasefire initiative for the latest Hamas-Israeli conflict despite failing to bring Hamas, one of the main belligerents, to the negotiating table.
Top diplomats from the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan and Greece on Tuesday all called for Palestinian faction Hamas to agree to Egypt’s ceasefire proposal that was made public on Monday night.
Director of Foreign Affairs at the Palestinian Ministry of Information Isra Almodallal said on Wednesday that Hamas leaders were still discussing the proposal, which bears similarity to the November 2012 ceasefire agreement. She also confirmed that Egyptian authorities did not contact Hamas directly, rather they approached the group through Gaza based group Islamic Jihad.
Egypt’s foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty could not be reached for comment on the issue on Wednesday.
Hamas claimed on Tuesday that it was never officially approached to participate in the ceasefire agreement. Abdelatty, when asked about Hamas’ claim on Tuesday, said the initiative was made public and referred to all “Palestinian factions” following nearly two weeks of contacts with “all sides”.
Earlier this year Hamas was declared an illegal organisation inside Egypt and their offices and assets were seized. The group’s close relationship to the ousted Muslim Brotherhood backed regime in Egypt has seen Hamas become increasingly alienated from the new Egyptian administration.
US Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking in Vienna on Tuesday said he “cannot condemn strongly enough the actions of Hamas in so brazenly firing rockets in multiple numbers in the face of a goodwill effort to offer a ceasefire”. He called on Hamas to “not to be provoking and purposefully trying to play politics in order to gain greater followers for its opposition”.
Israel accepted the terms of the ceasefire and suspended airstrikes on the densely populated Gaza Strip. The Israel Defense Forces resumed its airstrikes as rocket fire continued from the Hamas controlled territory.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was scheduled to visit Cairo on Wednesday to meet President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, Egyptian intelligence officials and Arab League Secretary General Nabil El-Araby in an attempt to coordinate efforts to secure the ceasefire, according to Palestinian Authority run news agency WAFA. Abbas is scheduled to visit Turkey on Friday with the same goal.