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As Gaza rift deepens, will Egypt abandon 1979 peace deal with Israel?

Egypt was the first Arab country to sign a peace agreement with Israel and has been a key mediator in negotiations to reach a cease-fire in Gaza.
Displaced Palestinians practice their hobbies at the beach in southern Gaza's Rafah near the border with Egypt on April 11, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas militant group. (Photo by MOHAMMED ABED / AFP) (Photo by MOHAMMED ABED/AFP via Getty Images)

CAIRO — Despite growing tensions between Egypt and Israel over the Israeli offensive in Rafah at the southern tip of the Gaza Strip, Cairo remains committed to its peace treaty with Tel Aviv.

Egypt was the first Arab country to sign a peace agreement with Israel in 1979 under which Tel Aviv withdrew from the Sinai Peninsula and the two countries normalized their relations.

Egypt has been vocal in condemning Israel’s offensive on the Gaza Strip that has killed more than 35,000 Palestinians since last October following a Hamas attack in southern Israel that killed 1,200 people.

Egypt has been particularly worried about a ground invasion of Rafah, where some 1.3 million displaced people have sheltered according to UN figures, fearing that an offensive there would send thousands of Palestinians fleeing into its Sinai Peninsula.

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