Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh arrived in Cairo today for talks on the escalation of the situation in Gaza, as announced by the Palestinian Islamist movement. Haniyeh, who is based in Qatar, is expected to engage in talks with Egyptian officials regarding the ongoing "Israeli aggression" in the Gaza Strip, among various other issues, according to a statement released by Hamas.
Sources within Hamas indicate that Haniyeh's visit to Egypt is primarily focused on talks with the country's intelligence chief, Abbas Kamel. The agenda includes exploring the possibility of a cease-fire in Gaza and negotiating a potential prisoner exchange with Israel, underscoring complex diplomatic efforts aimed at de-escalating the conflict.
In particular, Ziyad al-Nahl, head of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the second largest armed movement in Gaza, is also expected to travel to Cairo for talks early next week, further underscoring the regional importance of these talks.
Israel is ready for another break
Israel has also shown signs of openness to a ceasefire. President Isaac Herzog told ambassadors from 80 countries that Israel is ready for a second pause in the conflict with Hamas, contingent on the release of additional hostages from the Gaza Strip.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed that the head of the Mossad has been sent to Europe twice recently to advance the process of releasing the hostages. The previous one-week truce at the end of November resulted in the release of 105 hostages in exchange for 240 Palestinian women and minors from Israeli prisons, according to Israeli media.
Before arriving in Cairo, Ismail Haniyeh spoke with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdolahian in Doha, Qatar, according to tapes released by Tehran, highlighting the tangled web of diplomatic engagements surrounding the Gaza conflict.
The talks in Cairo are expected to play a key role in determining the prospects for a renewed ceasefire in the region. It would be good if an atmosphere was created for a new cease-fire, and that would open the way, perhaps, to stop the additional killing of civilians.