RAMALLAH, November 16 (JMCC) - The Egyptian diplomat stationed in Ramallah denied in an interview with al-Sharq al-Awsat
that Egypt had been asked to negotiate between Israel and the Hamas government in Gaza, which has been the site of airstrikes for three days.
Ambassador Yasser Osman said that Egypt is not a mediator and that Israel is the aggressor in the Israeli operation that has killed over two dozen Palestinians and three Israelis at this writing.
The Egyptian ambassador, speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat by telephone from Ramallah, also asserted that “the diplomatic and political actions that are being taken by Egypt aim to provide support to the Gaza Strip, whilst we also sent a message to the Israeli side regarding the need to stop the aggression.”
Egyptian presidential spokesman Dr. Yasser Ali announced on Wednesday that President Mohamed Mursi had taken the decision to recall the country’s ambassador to Israel in response to the Israeli air strikes targeting the Gaza Strip. Mursi also ordered the Egyptian Foreign Ministry to summon Israel’s ambassador to Cairo to issue an official protest against Israel’s actions.
Speaking to Egyptian state TV, the Egyptian presidential spokesman said “President Mursi has followed the Israeli brutal assault in which a number of martyrs and sons of the Palestinian people were killed. On this basis, he has recalled the Egyptian ambassador from Israel; has ordered the Egyptian representative at the United Nations to call for an emergency meeting of the Security Council…and summoned the Israeli ambassador in Egypt to protest over the assault.”
For his part, Egyptian ambassador to the Palestinian Authority, Yasser Osman, said that “one of Egypt’s objectives is to put an immediate end to this aggression because it is not in anybody’s interests for this aggression to continue and for more Palestinian blood to be shed.”
Osman also denied the Israeli media reports that Tel Aviv had asked for Egyptian mediation for a ceasefire following the killing of Hamas commander Ahmed al-Jabari, stressing that “Egypt is not a mediator; we are on the Palestinian side to stop the Israeli attacks against it.”
He added that Cairo has called for Arab and international intervention to stop the Israeli aggression against the Palestinians, adding “Egypt is primarily concerned with stopping the aggression, before talking about any ceasefire.”
The Egyptian ambassador to the Palestinian Authority also denied that Cairo was in contact with the Palestinian factions to stop the rocket fire into Israel as a step on the road to a ceasefire. He told Asharq Al-Awsat “the Israeli side began the aggression, and what the Palestinian resistance factions are doing is self-defense.” He added “it is up to the party that began the aggression to stop this.