Middle East Eye / September 5, 2022
A high-ranking Israeli military delegation visited Egypt last week to contain Cairo’s resentment over Israel reneging on its commitments to the ceasefire deal reached with Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip under Egyptian mediation, said an official familiar with the matter.
“The visit follows another made by the head of the Shin Bet [Israel’s internal intelligence agency], Ronen Bar on 21 August,” to resolve the tension, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed newspaper quoted the Egyptian official as saying.
Following an Israeli military operation on the Gaza Strip last month, the Islamic Jihad movement said it had reached an understanding with Israel to release Palestinian prisoners Khalil al-Awawdeh and Bassam al-Saadi, a senior PIJ figure from Jenin, as part of a ceasefire agreement.
Israel, however, had not fulfilled its part of the agreement that was brokered by Cairo and which ended a three-day onslaught on the Gaza Strip that killed 44 people, including 15 children.
During the meetings in Cairo, however, Egyptian and Israeli officials agreed on the release of Awawdeh as a first step, after he suspended his nearly six-month hunger strike last Wednesday, the official said.
“Provided that this would be followed by the release of Saadi after the new legislative elections in Israel in November,” he said.
Awawdeh is now set to be released from detention on 2 October, according to the Prisoner Support and Human Rights Office (Addameer).
“The understandings reached during the meetings were met with Egyptian satisfaction,” the official said, adding that Cairo had received clear guarantees that Saadi will also be released.
“It received the guarantees from the security services in Israel and not from the current government out of fear that any changes in the government [following the elections] might [result in] Israel breaking its commitment again.”
Mohammad Ayesh is an Arab journalist currently based in London