President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi met with his Palestinian counterpart, Mahmoud Abbas, on Saturday in New York, for discussions on the situation in Gaza, border measures and the Palestinian issue.
Al-Sisi outlined the necessity of the Palestinian Authority’s return to the Gaza Strip and the need for it to be in control of border crossings. This would provide better access for Palestinians, in terms of services and the transport of goods.
Al-Sisi added that measures taken by Egypt for the protection of its borders have taken place in coordination with the Palestinian National Authority, and do not cause harm to Palestinians.
Last week, Palestinian movement Hamas rejected Egypt’s announced project to build salt-water channels along the border with Gaza, claiming that it threatens a large numbers of houses on Palestinian territory and endangers the water table.
Egypt also seeks to follow through with Gaza’s reconstruction plan. Al-Sisi pointed to the importance of donor countries in this regard, stressing that Gaza’s reconstruction should also encompass “spreading hope” for Palestinians.
Al-Sisi alluded to the international donor conference, held in October 2014, which was co-hosted by Egypt and Norway in Cairo, and which raised $5.4bn to rebuild Gaza and to support the Palestinian Authority.
Meanwhile, Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank have witnessed violent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces in the past week.
Sunday morning witnessed clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, the latest in a string of incidents in the city.
Hamas released a statement, Saturday, describing the past week’s events and providing a detailed report on clashes, arrests and injuries on both sides. The movement reported that three Palestinians were killed during the past week, while 11 Israelis, including six soldiers and five settlers, were injured.
A 25-year-old Palestinian, named as Ahmed Khatatbah, died on Thursday after sustaining an injury in clashes with Israeli soldiers, according to the statement.
On Tuesday, 21-year-old Diaa Al-Talahmeh was killed in the southern occupied West Bank. The Israeli army attributed the death to an explosive device that detonated prematurely, while Palestinian security officials states that he was shot by Israeli soldiers.
Also on Tuesday, a young woman named as Hadeel Al-Hashlamoun was fatally wounded by Israeli gunshot. The Israeli press had reported that the 18-year-old was trying to stab a soldier in Hebron after which she was shot before being taken to hospital in critical condition.
Amnesty International labelled the incident an “extrajudicial execution”, and stated that obtained evidence proves that the victim did not pose any threat to the soldiers who used “excessive violence”.
In an interview with the Associated Press on Saturday night, Egypt’s President Al-Sisi said efforts should be renewed to solve the Palestinian issue, as resolving it would “change the face of the region”.
Al-Sisi had earlier stated that escalating violations in the vicinity of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem was leading to a critical situation. He warned of the repercussions of these incidents for Palestinians and their hopes for a resolution to the conflict.