Egypt has invited the various Palestinian factions for further dialogue on reconciliation between them

Hamas leader travels to Egypt to discuss Gaza reconstruction

AFP/ ANWAR AMRO - Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh

A Hamas delegation led by its political leader, Ismail Haniye, arrived in Cairo on Tuesday at the invitation of Egypt, the mediator in the latest escalation of violence between Israel and Palestinian militias, to discuss issues such as the reconstruction of Gaza and reconciliation between factions.

In a brief statement to the press upon his arrival in the Egyptian capital, the mission of the Palestinian Islamist movement explained that it is composed of Hamas vice-president Saleh Al Arouri and six other members of its political bureau.

El representante de Hamás, Saleh al-Arouri PHOTO/AP

A Hamas mission was expected to arrive in Cairo a week ago, following the Egyptian-mediated truce between Israel and the Palestinian militias, as part of negotiations between the two sides to secure a cessation of hostilities and reach an agreement on the reconstruction of Gaza.

In addition, Egypt has invited the various Palestinian factions to continue talks on reconciliation between them.

El ministro de Asuntos Exteriores de Egipto, Sameh Shoukry (derecha), se reúne con su homólogo israelí, Gabi Ashkenazi (izquierda), en el Palacio Tahrir, en el centro de la capital, El Cairo, el 30 de mayo de 2021 PHOTO/AFP

Although the Hamas delegation was initially due to go to Cairo immediately after the visit of an Israeli delegation led by Israeli foreign minister Gabi Ashkenazi on 30 May, differences between the two sides over the conditions for consolidating the truce had delayed it.

Israel's demand for the return of two civilians and the bodies of two soldiers killed during an operation in Gaza in 2014, all of them in the hands of Hamas, is one of the main stumbling blocks in the negotiations.

Egyptian mediators have since met with all parties in Israel and the Palestinian territories and, although no progress in negotiations has been announced, Egypt sent machinery and brigades to Gaza last Friday to begin work in the enclave.