BEIRUT

Middle East

Sisi defends Egypt peace efforts for Gaza

Palestinian girls walk amidst debris following an Israeli military strike in Gaza city, on July 23, 2014. (AFP Photo/Mahmoud Hams)

CAIRO: President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi Wednesday defended Egypt's role in trying to broker a Gaza truce between Israel and Hamas, which accuses him of proposing a cease-fire favorable to Israel.

Unlike his Islamist predecessor Mohammad Morsi whom he toppled and detained last year, ex-army chief Sisi has sought to isolate the militant Palestinian movement in the neighboring Gaza Strip.

The Cairo government worked to contain the crisis even before it escalated into a full-blown conflict on July 8 that has killed more than 650 Palestinians and at least 31 Israelis, Sisi said.

"Egypt has sacrificed, for the Palestinian cause and the Palestinians, 100,000 martyrs," he said in a televised address, referring to casualties in Egypt's wars with Israel between 1948 and 1973, before Cairo signed a 1979 peace treaty.

"So it is difficult for anyone to engage in one-upmanship, not just regarding (our role) with the Palestinian brothers but also the Arab region," he said in a speech to mark the 1952 military overthrow of the monarchy in Egypt.

Since Morsi's overthrow in July 2013, Egypt has been at odds with Turkey and Qatar, both of which back his Muslim Brotherhood and have been critical of Sisi's stand on the Gaza conflict.

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called Sisi a "tyrant" who could not be trusted to mediate a truce, while Hamas demands a role for Ankara and Doha, which hosts its political leadership, in any truce negotiations.

Morsi mediated a truce to end an eight-day conflict with Israel in 2012 that Hamas was able to represent as a "victory."

Sisi said his truce proposal would give Hamas its key demand of an end to the eight-year blockade of Gaza once calm is restored.

Hamas, however, insists on a comprehensive agreement before it agrees to a cease-fire.

It also demands Egypt open its Rafah border crossing with Gaza, the only passage to the coastal enclave not controlled by Israel.

Hamas argues that Egypt's proposal, which is backed by the United States, United Nations and Arab League, would allow Israel to dictate if and when to ease its blockade on Gaza.

 

Recommended

Advertisement

Comments

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

Alert: If you are facing problems with posting comments, please note that you must verify your email with Disqus prior to posting a comment. follow this link to make sure your account meets the requirements. (http://bit.ly/vDisqus)

comments powered by Disqus
Summary

President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi Wednesday defended Egypt's role in trying to broker a Gaza truce between Israel and Hamas, which accuses him of proposing a cease-fire favorable to Israel.

The Cairo government worked to contain the crisis even before it escalated into a full-blown conflict on July 8 that has killed more than 650 Palestinians and at least 31 Israelis, Sisi said.

Sisi said his truce proposal would give Hamas its key demand of an end to the eight-year blockade of Gaza once calm is restored.


Advertisement

FOLLOW THIS ARTICLE

Interested in knowing more about this story?

Click here