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Cairo Peace Summit Ends with Call for Sustained Humanitarian Aid to Gaza

Egypt Summit Israel Palestinians
Egypt Summit Israel Palestinians

Leaders and top officials from more than a dozen countries who met in Cairo for a one-day summit to discuss how to implement a cease-fire in the 14-day-old conflict between Israel and Hamas, left without agreeing to a joint statement, two weeks into a conflict that has killed thousands and visited a humanitarian catastrophe on the blockaded Gaza enclave of 2.3 million people.

Reuters reports that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi told leaders who attended the Cairo Summit for Peace, that he had invited them to come to an agreement for a roadmap to end the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip and revive a path to peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

He said the roadmap's goals included the delivery of aid to Gaza and agreeing to a ceasefire, followed by negotiations leading to a two-state solution.

The summit was held as Israel prepares a ground assault on Gaza. More than 4,100 Palestinians have been killed in Israel's counteroffensive, according to Gaza's Health Ministry, amid a growing humanitarian crisis. The Hamas attack killed more than 1,400 Israelis and took about 200 captive.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attended the summit and asked for humanitarian corridors to be opened. He also said Palestinians would not leave.

“We will remain on our land,” said Abbas.

Egypt, the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, is reportedly worried about a mass exodus of Palestinians into its territory.

President el-Sisi said earlier this week that Egyptians in their millions would oppose any forced displacement of Palestinians into Sinai, adding that any such move would turn the Egyptian peninsula into a base for attacks against Israel.

Analysts say the absence of any representative from the Israeli side, and any senior US official, has dampened expectations for what the summit can achieve.

Representatives from countries including Jordan, France, Germany, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, the United States, Qatar and South Africa attended the one-day summit, together with United Nations and European Union officials.