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Saturday July 13, 2024

Israeli-Palestinian talks in Egypt aim to ‘restore calm’

By AFP
March 20, 2023

CAIRO: Israeli and Palestinian officials were holding talks in Egypt on Sunday “to restore calm” after a surge in deadly violence in the occupied West Bank, Egypt´s foreign ministry said.

The meeting, which follows similar talks last month in Jordan where both sides pledged to prevent more violence, comes amid concerns of a feared escalation during the Muslim holy month of Ramazan starting in the coming week.

The meeting is aimed at “supporting dialogue between the Palestinian and Israeli sides to put a stop to unilateral actions and escalation and break the cycle of violence”, Egypt´s foreign ministry added.

Officials from Egypt, Jordan and the United States were attending the meeting in the Red Sea resort of Sharm al-Sheikh, it added. Hussein al-Sheikh, Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) secretary general, said on Saturday on Twitter that the Palestinian delegation would participate “to demand an end to the continuous Israeli aggression against us”.

Few details have emerged from the talks, but the efforts were already rejected by Palestinian factions. Islamist group Hamas, which controls the blockaded Gaza Strip, said it “rejects the Sharm al-Sheikh conference and conferences that aim for calm,” senior member Mussa Abu Marzouk said in a statement.

“Our choice... is to escalate the resistance in the face of the occupation”, he added. Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said in a joint statement that Israel “takes advantage of these security meetings to launch more aggression”.

The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine also demanded Palestinian representatives leave the talks. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has claimed the lives of 86 Palestinian adults and children this year, including militants and civilians.

Thirteen Israeli adults and children, including members of the security forces and civilians, and one Ukrainian civilian have been killed over the same period, according to an AFP tally based on official sources from both sides.