Israeli, Palestinian Authority Officials Meet For Talks in Egypt.
Israeli and Palestinian Authority (PA) officials are meeting in Egypt for talks amid criticism and calls for a boycott by
Palestinian political parties.
The one-day meeting began on March 19, 2023, in the Egyptian resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh, which was also attended by Egyptian, US, and Jordanian officials.
The talks come ahead of Ramadan, which happened on Thursday, March 23, 2023, in a diplomatic effort to maintain “calm” during the Muslim holy month, when matters often escalate between Israeli forces and Palestinians in the
occupied Palestinian territories.
The situation on the ground has been tense for more than a year, with frequent raids and near-daily killings of Palestinians by the Israeli army, which have only spiked under the new extreme right-wing Israeli government sworn in at the end of last year.
A statement by Egypt’s foreign ministry said the talks aim “to support dialogue between the Palestinian and Israeli sides to work to stop unilateral actions and escalation, and to break the existing cycle of violence and achieve calm.”
This could “facilitate the creation of a climate suitable for the resumption of the peace process,” the statement added.
On March 18, top Palestinian Authority official Hussein alSheikh stated that the Palestinian delegation will attend to “defend the rights of our Palestinian people to freedom and independence” and “request an end to this continuous
Israeli aggression against us, as well as to stop all measures and policies that violate our blood, land, property, and sanctities.”
According to Israeli media, National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi lead the Israeli delegation, along with intelligence (Shin Bet) chief Ronen Bar and military general Ghassan Alian.
All major Palestinian political parties, except for Fatah which runs the PA, opposed the talks and called for a boycott. Hamas, the armed group that governs the besieged Gaza Strip, said it “rejects the conference in Sharm
Spokesman Mousa Abu Marzouq said in a statement published on on 17th march that “European and American authorities issue statements about the crimes of the [Israeli] occupation, but do not take any measures to pressure the Israeli entity to stop its crimes.”
In a joint statement, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
(PFLP) political parties said the PA’s insistence on joining the Sharm alSheikh summit “constitutes a coup
against popular will.”
They said Israel is “taking advantage of these summits and security meetings to launch more aggression against our people.” Jordan talks
The talks follow a US-brokered summit in Jordan last month involving PA and Israeli officials, the first of its kind in years. That meeting was also met with widespread opposition and failed to restrict the Israeli occupation’s escalating oppressive measures against Palestinians.
While the closing statement of the Aqaba Summit in Jordan claimed Israel agreed to halt announcing new illegal settlements for several months, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denied any such commitments were made barely hours after the end of the meeting.
“Contrary to reports and tweets about the meeting in Jordan, there is no change in Israeli policy,” Israeli National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi said at the time.
Israel has built hundreds of illegal settlements and outposts, home
to about 700,000 Israeli settlers, across the occupied West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem, blocking the possibility of an independent Palestinian state on those territories, which Israel has militarily occupied since 1967.
Israeli forces and settlers have killed 89 Palestinians this year, including 18 children and one woman, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.