Abbas Asked Egypt to Block an Israeli Gaza Operation
A Palestinian Authority (PA) source told a Hamas newspaper that Egypt is in contact with Israel in an attempt to stop the Jewish state from conducting a counter-terror operation in the Hamas enclave of Gaza.
Speaking to the Hamas paper Al-Risala, the source said that in recent days Egypt had received requests from PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to immediately get involved in stopping an "Israeli military escalation" in Gaza, reports Yedioth Aharonoth.
Abbas reportedly asked Egypt to act in coordination with other countries to block Israeli military action against the recent massive escalation in rocket fire from Gaza, which has skyrocketed since Hamas terrorists abducted and murdered three Israeli teens on June 12.
The source further claimed that Israel is trying to prepare the groundwork in the international community for a new operation in Gaza.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman on Tuesday called for Israel to launch a military operation in Gaza similar to the large-scale Operation Defensive Shield which took place in Judea and Samaria in 2002, at the height of the Second Intifada, also known as the Oslo War.
The call comes on the heels of the noted escalation in rocket fire, which included a mortar salvo from Gaza during the funeral of the three murdered teens. A total of 15 rockets were fired at Israel by Gaza terrorists overnight Sunday and on Monday morning; the IDF on Monday announced Hamas launched the attack, reportedly marking a first since the end of the counter-terror Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012.
The wave of rockets comes after a particularly damaging attack Saturday night, in which a rocket directly hit a plastics factory in Sderot, burning it down completely and injuring three people lightly.
As for Egypt's stance regarding Israel, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi called on Israel to exercise "maximum self-restraint" during the search for the abducted teens.
Sisi has said there is a chance for "true peace" with Israel if it adopts the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, which demanded Israel withdraw from Judea and Samaria, at which point the Arab states would supposedly recognize it. He added that he would be willing to change the peace agreement with Israel.
A senior Egyptian official revealed last month that Sisi's administration strongly supports the new Hamas-Fatah unity government, and is considering giving it supervision of the Rafah crossing from Gaza to Sinai.