[cynical move] Israel to return Egyptian soldiers’ bodies as gesture of goodwill – details of Egypt-Israel spat revealed  

Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar (AFP)

Mohammad Ayesh

Middle East Eye  /  August 23, 2022

Israel’s head of internal security services assured Egyptian officials that his country would meet Cairo’s demands to reduce diplomatic tensions, including transporting back the bodies of Egyptian soldiers buried in the occupied West Bank.

Details of the Sunday meeting between Ronen Bar, head of Israel’s Shin Bet, and Abbas Kamel, head of Egypt’s intelligence, were revealed by the Al-Araby al-Jadeed news website on Tuesday. 

According to an Egyptian source, Bar explained the current crisis with Cairo is down to a conflict between political and security officials in Israel who want different things. 

“Due to the upcoming Israeli elections, there are conflicting interests in Israel as everyone is seeking to win votes,” Bar said, according to an unnamed source. 

“Bar confirmed to the head of the Egyptian General Intelligence that all matters that caused Cairo’s anger will be reconsidered within the various security levels in Israel,” he added. 

Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz confirmed on Monday that a political schism with Egypt had arisen following the recent assault on Gaza.

Speaking on an Israeli radio station, Gantz admitted, “that there are days of tensions that result from the end of Operation [Breaking] Dawn”.

Egypt, which has long served as the main interlocutor between Israel and Gaza-based groups, played a key role in mediating a ceasefire between the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Israel to end the three-day fighting. 

Following the ceasefire, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, in a phone call with Prime Minister Yair Lapid, was apparently led to believe that Israel would significantly reduce arrests and tensions in the occupied West Bank.

But within 48 hours of the ceasefire coming into effect, Israeli troops killed three Palestinians, including the senior resistance fighter Ibrahim al-Nabulsi, during a raid centred on a house in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus. That operation angered the Egyptian government. 
 
According to sources, Kamel “insisted during his meeting with Bar that all ceasefire conditions must be met”, reported Al-Araby al-Jadeed

Bar also presented to Egyptian officials details of the efforts to search for the mass grave in which dozens of Egyptian soldiers were buried during the 1967 Middle East war near Jerusalem.

The location of the mass grave has been determined and in the next few days the bodies, now buried under a popular Israeli tourist park, will be exhumed and returned to Egypt soon as a gesture of goodwill, the source added. 

Mohammad Ayesh is an Arab journalist currently based in London