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Inside Story

A sign of shifting Egypt-Israel relations?

How significant is the Egyptian PM's solidarity visit to Gaza in the midst of its heightened conflict with Israel?
Last Modified: 17 Nov 2012 07:46

On Friday, Hisham Qandil, Egypt's prime minister, visited the Gaza Strip.

His mission was to show support for the Palestinians, and to try and broker a truce as the conflict with Israel threatens to escalate.

"[Qandil's visit is] a sign that the new government of Egypt is going to have to be very active in re-defining relations with Israel, and so by making a show of support at this moment with the beleaguered Hamas authorities, they are really showing the Israelis that they will not stand by as [Hosni] Mubarak did and watch Gaza pummeled."

- Eugene Rogan, University of Oxford

But hopes for even a brief ceasefire while he was inside Gaza were immediately dashed. The violence on both sides just continued.

At Egypt's request, Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, promised to temporarily suspend the attacks on Gaza for the duration of Qandil’s visit.

But as Qandil spoke at a hospital treating the injured, a series of loud explosions rocked the city.

Bombs fell on Gaza for a third day on Friday, targeting sites including the Strip's interior ministry.

Israeli tanks and heavy artillery gathered at the border, and some 16,000 Israeli reservists have also been called up for a possible ground offensive.

Meanwhile, the hail of Hamas rockets aimed at Israel is being cited as justification for the repeated airstrikes against Gaza.

"If the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty is endangered, I don't think Egypt can maintain receiving the American military and economic aid that it has been receiving for decades and definitely the Egyptian government will not be able to attract the foreign investment that is badly needed in the country. "

- Gamal Abdel Gawad, American University in Cairo

Many in the densely populated Gaza Strip are now pinning their hopes on Egypt's Prime Minister to broker an end to the violence.

But will the fighting between Israel and Hamas get worse?

How long will the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel last?

And what kind of pressure can be exerted to prevent hositlities spreading across the Middle East and perhaps beyond?

To answer these questions, Inside Story, with presenter David Foster, is joined by guests: Gamal Abdel Gawad, a professor of political science at the American University in Cairo, who is also a consultant to the Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies; Eugene Rogan, a university lecturer of modern history of the Middle East, and a faculty member of oriental studies with the University of Oxford; and Nader Omran, a  member of the political committee of Egypt's Freedom and Justice Party.

"This tragedy requires an urgent intervention, serious and honest action from all sides. This is what Egypt has started to do and will continue to do until this aggression is ended, until Palestinian national unity is achieved to the interest of the Palestinian people, until lasting peace is established and the Palestinian state is set up with Jerusalem as its capital."

Hisham Qandil, Egypt's prime minister


EGYPT-ISRAEL RELATIONS

  • Egyptian PM Hisham Qandil and Hamas PM Ismail Haniyeh visited wounded at Al-Shifa hospital 
  • Israel fired missiles at Jabaliya camp during the Egyptian prime ministers visit to Gaza 
  • Medical sources: At least two people were killed during the visit by Qandil 
  • Israel offered to stop attacks if Hamas did the same during Qandil's trip 
  • Qandil says Israel must honour treaties it has already signed 
  • Qandil: World must not ignore the tragedy of missile attacks in Gaza 
  • Egyptian PM also told Palestinian factions that they need to unite 
  • Palestinian PM Haniyeh calls on all Arab countries to join Egypt 
  • Egypt opened Rafah crossing to provide access to hospitals 
  • Egypt officially requested a UN security council meeting on Gaza

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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