Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas arrived Sunday in the Egyptian resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh for a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.
According to the Palestinian Authority’s envoy to Cairo, Diab al-Louh, Abbas will stay in the city for the next two days.
“Abbas’s meeting with Sissi will address the latest developments on the Palestinian arena, efforts to advance the peace process, and efforts to end the Israeli occupation,” al-Louh said.
Abbas is accompanied by his two top aides, Hussein al-Sheikh — who is responsible for ties with Israel — and Palestinian Authority intelligence chief Majed Faraj, as well as advisers Mahmoud al-Habbash and Majdi Khaldi.
The PA’s official news agency WAFA said Abbas arrived for an official visit to participate in the opening of the World Youth Forum.
According to al-Louh, Abbas and Sissi will also discuss “Egypt’s efforts to achieve [Palestinian] national reconciliation, end division, and rebuild what was destroyed by the Israeli aggression in the Gaza Strip.”
The latter part is a reference to an escalation last May that saw 11 days of violence in which thousands of rockets were launched by Gazan terror group Hamas toward Israeli cities, that were met with retaliatory Israeli airstrikes that heavily damaged parts of the Gaza Strip.
Egypt has since been mediating efforts to achieve a long-term truce between Israel and Hamas that would likely see Jerusalem and Cairo somewhat ease their blockade on Gaza and help rebuild the Strip in exchange for long-term quiet or other concessions. The Palestinian Authority is involved in the efforts as the elected leadership of the Palestinians.
The “national reconciliation” mentioned by al-Louh is a reference to the split Palestinian leadership — the PA rules the West Bank while Hamas rules Gaza, having taken over in a bloody coup in 2007.
Past reconciliation efforts have thus far failed to yield substantial results, and multiple bids to hold general Palestinian elections — the first since 2005 — have been called off shortly before the planned votes, including last year.