Egypt hosts Israeli-Palestinian talks to secure pre-Ramadan truce

CAIRO. Egypt is hosting Israeli and Palestinian officials in the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh on Sunday (March 19), with support from the US and Jordan, to quell rising violence in the West Bank ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The five-party meeting follows a US-brokered summit in Jordan on February 26, the first of its kind in years, which secured Israeli and Palestinian pledges of de-escalation but was disputed by factions on both sides and failed to end violence on the ground. .

The meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh “aims to support dialogue between the Palestinian and Israeli sides to work to stop unilateral actions and escalation, break the current cycle of violence and achieve calm,” Egypt’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

It can “facilitate the creation of an atmosphere suitable for the resumption of the peace process”, he added.

The Palestinians aim to establish an independent state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital, territories that Israel captured in the 1967 war.

But peace talks have been stalled since 2014, and Palestinians say the expansion of Jewish settlements has undermined the prospects for a viable state.

The Muslim fasting month of Ramadan begins at the end of March.

In previous years, Israeli police and Palestinians have clashed around Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa mosque at the height of Ramadan, which this year coincides with the Jewish Passover and the Christian Easter.

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