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Egypt rebuilds regional leader status

Egypt is developing an initiative that would launch Israeli-Palestinian negotiations alongside a multilateral negotiation track.

It is hard to determine at this point whether it was Fatah or Hamas that won in the new reconciliation agreement. But there is definitely a second winner — Egypt. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi activated his intelligence services to pressure both sides into signing this deal, which offers Cairo considerable clout over both Palestinian movements.

A senior Egyptian diplomat in Tel Aviv told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity that it was a lengthy and difficult negotiation, mainly in Cairo, between Egyptian officials and representatives of Hamas and Fatah. Egypt was highly concerned that the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip would lead to a renewed confrontation between Hamas and Israel, and violence tends to strengthen Iran’s hand in the region. Egypt wants to regain its leading role in the Arab world and offset the Iranian regime’s influence in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Gaza. Also, the security stalemate in the Sinai Desert is of prime importance.

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