The meeting will also serve to strengthen bilateral relations and discuss plans for the reconstruction of Gaza

Ashkenazi-Shouky meeting seeks to consolidate ceasefire between Hamas and Israel

PHOTO/REUTERS - Israeli Foreign Minister Gabriel "Gabi" Ashkenazi

Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi will meet his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry in Cairo today. During the meeting the two ministers will discuss the ongoing ceasefire between the Hamas group and Israel. Egypt plays a key role in this truce as it was the main mediator in agreeing the cessation of hostilities.

Ashkenazi and Shoukry will also look at ways to strengthen bilateral ties and discuss plans for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip after 11 days of bombardment.

Hamas officials could join the meeting, as delegations from Israel and the Islamist group agreed to a meeting in Cairo a few days ago to cement the recent truce. Projects to rebuild Gaza and a possible prisoner exchange are also on the table.

According to EFE, a source close to Hamas, who wished to remain anonymous, assured that Ismail Haniyeh, leader of the organisation, will arrive in Cairo this morning to discuss all these issues.


Since the ceasefire was declared, Egypt has sent several delegations to Tel Aviv and Gaza to monitor the implementation of the ceasefire. It has also coordinated international aid to Gaza. Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi last week pledged $500 billion to help rebuild Gaza. According to MENA news agency, Egypt's position for the meeting would be to advocate for the consolidation of the ceasefire and "an end to the Israeli occupation and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state to avoid recurrent rounds of conflict".

Other meetings have been held in the area in recent days with the same objective. The United States is also a key player in the conflict, which is why US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has met with both Palestinian and Israeli officials. Blinken also travelled to Amman for talks with King Abdullah II. Jordan, like Egypt, is a traditional mediator between Palestinians and Israelis.

"Securing the ceasefire was important, particularly given the devastating toll of violence on families on both sides," the secretary of state told a press conference following the meeting with the Hashemite monarch. During the latest escalation of violence between Israel and Hamas, it is estimated that more than 250 people, mostly Palestinians, have been killed.


Blinken also expressed optimism about the future of this round of talks, which could boost stability in the area. "We see the ceasefire not as an end, but as the beginning of something to build on," he said. In addition to Egypt's mediation, the truce was made possible by pressure from US President Joe Biden.

For the meetings to succeed and bring some hope to the peace process, negotiations between Hamas and Israel are essential. Tel Aviv has assured that any agreement with the Palestinian group must include the return of the bodies of two soldiers killed in the 2014 Gaza war.