Press "Enter" to skip to content

Israel and Palestine agree to lower tensions at Egypt meeting

Israel and Palestine have pledged at a meeting in Egypt to take steps to lower tensions ahead of a sensitive holiday season – including a partial freeze on Israeli settlement activity and an agreement to work together to “curb and counter violence.” 

The Israeli and Palestinian delegations met on Sunday for the second time in less than a month, shepherded by regional allies Egypt and Jordan, as well as the United States, to end a year-long spasm of violence. More than 200 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire and more than 40 Israelis or foreigners have been killed in Palestinian attacks during that time. 

Following Sunday’s summit in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said the sides had reaffirmed a commitment to de-escalate and prevent further violence. 

These include pledges to stop unilateral actions, it said. Israel pledged to stop discussion of new settlement construction for four months, and to stop plans to legalise unauthorised settlement outposts for six months.

Ongoing conflict this year kills 87 Palestinians, 13 Israelis

“The two sides agreed to establish a mechanism to curb and counter violence, incitement and inflammatory states and actions,” the communique said. The sides would report on progress at a follow-up meeting in Egypt next month, it added. 

There was no immediate comment from Israel or Palestine. 

The agreement marked a breakthrough, in words at least, but implementing the pledges could be a challenge. 

The Israeli pledges were largely symbolic. Israel recently approved the construction of thousands of new settlement homes, and there were no immediate plans to approve additional construction. 

Mediators want to ease tensions ahead of Ramadan, which starts this week and which will coincide next month with the weeklong Jewish holiday of Passover.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made no mention of Sunday’s summit in his weekly Cabinet meeting.

Palestinian official Hussein Al Sheikh tweeted that the meeting in Egypt was meant to “demand an end to this continuous Israeli aggression against us.”

A similar meeting in Jordan late last month ended with pledges to de-escalate tensions. But the meeting was quickly derailed when a new burst of violence erupted on the same day.

International actors using influence to protect Israel – Palestine

More from Middle EastMore posts in Middle East »

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *