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U.S. Plan to End Palestinian/Israeli Conflict within Two Years- Egyptian Sources | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Asharq Al-Awsat has learned that during the Egyptian delegation’s visit to Washington on 26 May, the US briefed Egyptian Intelligence Minister Omar Suleiman, and Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abu el Gheit, on what Egyptian sources described as “a plan to end the Palestinian /Israeli conflict within two years on the basis of a two state solution.” Washington then called for a swift response from the Arab side.

The source informed Asharq Al-Awsat that “the US officials also informed the Egyptian delegation that they had notified Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the plan during his recent visit to Washington, and they had called on him to provide a response within six weeks.”

The source added that the Egyptian political leadership sensed that Obama was extremely serious [about achieving peace in the Middle East], and that the only obstacle to this is the inter-Palestinian division. Egypt therefore has decided to consult with a number of Arab leaders in order to heal the Palestinian rift as soon as possible. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has assigned the task of ending the Palestinian division to Egyptian Intelligence Minister General Omar Suleiman, who informed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of the situation. Abbas then sent a high-level delegation headed by former Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei to Cairo. Egypt also asked Hamas leader Khalid Mishal to attend inter-Palestinian dialogue in Cairo, in order to put a timetable in place with regards ending inter-Palestinian division so that the Arabs are ready to enter negotiations [to end the Palestinian – Israeli conflict].

An emergency meeting of Arab Foreign Ministers is also scheduled to take place on 17 June whose main agenda will be to provide support to Egyptian efforts to end the inter-Palestinian division.

A high ranking Egyptian official revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that “Egyptian Intelligence chief, Minister Omar Suleiman is set to meet a Hamas delegation…led by Khalid Mishal in Cairo today.” He added that this was “part of the Egyptian efforts to end the inter-Palestinian division, in order to pave the way for political the political process.”

The source also informed Asharq Al-Awsat that “Egypt will continue to consult and communicate with all Palestinian factions and groups over the coming stage, in the context of maintaining the momentum on issues of [Palestinian] national dialogue, creating a final agreement on Palestinian reconciliation [to be announced] in Cairo on 7 July, which will pave the way for the political process.”

For his part, deposed Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said that communication between his movement and Egypt are currently underway at the highest level with regards to resuming [Palestinian] national dialogue, and discussing the contentious issues between the Palestinian factions. During a visit to a Palestinian school where secondary school exams are currently underway throughout the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, Haniyeh spoke of his hope that the talks would put an end to inter-Palestinian division, especially following the events of Qalqilya [where armed clashes between Hamas and Fatah resulted in six fatalities].

Hamas announced that its delegation would be made up of members of both the Syrian and Gazan branches of the movement, and would be led by Khalid Mishal. The delegation is due to meet with Egyptian intelligence Chief General Omar Suleiman in the Egyptian capital later today.

Hamas spokesman Ayman Taha said “the delegation will discuss the recent deaths of resistance fighters…by the security apparatus in the West Bank, as well as the issue of [Palestinian] dialogue.” He added that along with Khalid Mishal “the movement’s delegation is made up of Deputy Chairman Mousa Abu Marzook, Eyad Abu al-Nasr, as well as two members of the political bureau of the Gaza branch.” Taha expected the meeting between General Suleiman and the Hamas delegation to take place later today.

Taha also denied that Hamas had threatened to withdraw from participating in the meeting. He said that Hamas’s position with regards to this is yet to be resolved, but should the [Fatah affiliated] security apparatus continue to attack the resistance, whether by arrest or assassination, then Hamas would withdraw.

A Fatah delegation led by Ahmed Qurei, and including the leader of the Fatah parliamentary bloc Azzam al-Ahmed, visited Cairo on Sunday and met with General Omar Suleiman where they discussed ways to end the Palestinian division, as well as addressing issues that emerged recently as a result of tension between Hamas and Fatah.

Secretary General of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, renewed his support of Egypt’s efforts to achieve Palestinian reconciliation. In a press statement, Moussa described these efforts as being vital to the Palestinians, and said that the Palestinian factions have a responsibility to reconcile quickly, especially in light of the clear international developments with regards to the Arab – Israeli conflict.

The Egyptian source also informed Asharq Al-Awsat that “Egypt is keen on ending the division as quickly as possible in light of the new US political discourse on achieving peace in the region, and President Obama’s assurances of starting up the peace process as soon as possible in order to achieve a Palestinian state.”

The Hamas delegation is comprised of Mousa Abu Marzook and Mohamed Nasr from the Syrian branch of Hamas, and Mahmoud al-Zahar and Nizar Awadallah of the Gaza branch. The delegation is led by exiled Hamas leader Khalid Mishal.

A senior Fatah official revealed that Cairo will invite Palestinian factions to meet in Cairo over the coming days in order to resolve inter-Palestinian division before 5 July. All factions will then be invited to endorse the outcome of the dialogue which will be announced to the public on 7 July.

The official added “The three remaining issues on the Palestinian dialogue agenda are; the electoral system, the formation of the joint [Palestinian] security force, and the formation of the [political] factional committee which will be led by President Mahmoud Abbas.”