Backed by the US and Jordan, the day-long meeting follows last month’s talks in Jordan.
Israeli and Palestinian Authority (PA) officials meet in Egypt for talks amid criticism and calls for a boycott by Palestinian political parties.
The one-day meeting, which is also attended by Egyptian, American and Jordanian officials, began on Sunday in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.
The talks come ahead of Ramadan, which begins on Thursday, in a diplomatic effort to maintain “calm” during the Islamic holy month, when matters often escalate between Israeli troops and Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The situation on the ground has been tense for more than a year, with frequent raids and near-daily killings of Palestinians by the Israeli army only increasing under the new far-right Israeli government sworn in late last year. .
A statement from Egypt’s foreign ministry said the talks aim to “support dialogue between the Palestinian and Israeli sides to stop unilateral actions and escalation, break the existing cycle of violence and achieve calm”.
This could “facilitate the creation of an environment suitable for the resumption of the peace process,” the statement added.
On Saturday, top PA official Hussein al-Sheikh said the Palestinian delegation will participate to “defend the rights of our Palestinian people to freedom and independence,” and “(request) an end to this ongoing Israeli aggression against us and to stop all measures and policies that violate our blood, our land, our property and our sanctities.”
According to Israeli media, National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi is leading the Israeli delegation, along with Intelligence Chief (Shin Bet) Ronen Bar and military general Ghassan Alian.
All major Palestinian political parties, except Fatah, which leads the PA, opposed the talks and called for a boycott. Hamas, the armed group that rules the besieged Gaza Strip, said it “rejects the conference in Sharm al-Sheikh”.
That said spokesman Mousa Abu Marzouq in a rack published on Friday that “European and US authorities are making statements about the crimes of the (Israeli) occupation, but are not taking any measures to pressure the Israeli entity to stop its crimes.”
In a joint statement, the political parties of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) said the PA’s push to participate in the Sharm al-Sheikh summit “constitutes a coup d’état against the will of the people”.
They said Israel “takes advantage of these summits and security meetings to launch more aggression against our people.”
Sunday’s talks follow a US-brokered summit in Jordan last month involving the PA and Israeli officials — the first of its kind in years. That meeting also met with widespread opposition and failed to contain the escalating repressive measures of the Israeli occupation against Palestinians.
While the closing statement from Jordan’s Aqaba summit claimed that Israel agreed to stop announcing new illegal settlements for several months, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denied such pledges were made barely hours after the meeting ended.
“Contrary to reports and tweets about the meeting in Jordan, there is no change in Israeli policy,” Israeli national security adviser Tzachi Hanegbi said at the time.
Israel has built hundreds of illegal settlements and outposts, home to about 700,000 Israeli settlers, scattered throughout the occupied West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem, raising the possibility of an independent Palestinian state in those areas, which Israel militarily occupied in 1967. , is blocked.
Israeli troops and settlers have killed 89 Palestinians this year, including 18 children and a woman, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.