Egypt maintains contacts with both Hamas and Israel, and has a history of mediating conflict between Israel and Hamas, along with acting as a mediator in several conflicts between Israel and other Palestinian groups.
In particular, Egypt has acted as a mediator in the negotiation of previous cease fires.
Egypt has also maintained full diplomatic relations with Israel since 1980, thus placing it in a unique position among Arab countries.
Will Egypt Play a Role in Easing the Gaza War?
The Egyptian government and Hamas have an uneasy relationship. Hamas
was created out of the Palestine branch of the Muslim Brotherhood in
the late 1980s, and it was formed specifically to engage in violence
against Israelis (and Jews more broadly) and counter the influence of
Palestinian Islamic Jihad, an Iranian proxy group that had been waging
a terrorist campaign against Israel. Given Egypt’s relationship with
the Muslim Brotherhood, which tends to oscillate between grudging
tolerance and outright hostility, Egypt’s leaders have sought to
control Hamas for fear that it could contribute to instability within
the Nile Valley. As a result, Egypt’s intelligence service has a
presence in Gaza and keeps a watchful eye on Hamas activities there.
Does Egypt play a role in any regional efforts to contain the conflict or create a cease-fire?
In the past, Egypt’s presidents and General Intelligence Service have
played important roles in securing cease-fires between Israel and
For example, from May 2023:
Israel, US, UN thank Egypt for role in mediating ceasefire with Islamic Jihad in Gaza
Israel, the United States, and the United Nations thanked Egypt for its role in mediating a delicate ceasefire with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group in Gaza on Saturday night, bringing five days of intense fighting between the two sides to a cautious end.
Egypt’s role in Gaza: More than a mediator
Egypt often mediates between Hamas and Israel, but its role in Gaza extends to control of the Rafah border crossing.
This time, much as has happened in the past, the two sides turned to a
trusted third party – Egypt.
Cairo had played a prominent role, mediating between Hamas and Israel
to reach a ceasefire after Tel Aviv’s offensive on Gaza in May 2021,
and has also been a vital stakeholder, mediating between Palestinian
factions and Israel during previous attacks on the territory.
And again in September 2021:
Israel, Egypt leaders meet to de-escalate Gaza tensions
Talks focused on Egypt’s efforts to maintain calm in the occupied Palestinian territories and international reconstruction support for Gaza.
The meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi likely focused on de-escalating tensions between Israel and Palestinian armed groups in Gaza Strip, and could lead to an easing of restrictions on the occupied enclave, analysts say.
Egypt's involvement as a mediator between Hamas and Israel dates back to at least November 2012, under President Morsi.
Egypt emerges as major Middle East mediator with Israel-Gaza cease-fire
CAIRO The Gaza cease-fire deal reached Thursday marks a startling trajectory for Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi: an Islamist leader who refuses to talk to Israelis or even say the country's name mediated for it and finally turned himself into Israel's de facto protector.
The accord inserts Egypt to an unprecedented degree into the conflict between Israel and Hamas, establishing it as the arbiter ensuring that militant rocket fire into Israel stops and that Israel allows the opening of the long-blockaded Gaza Strip and stops its own attacks against Hamas.
Egypt's history of mediation between Hamas and Israel under both President Morsi and President El-Sisi likely provides a level of trust of Egypt's efforts within both Hamas' and Israel's leadership that would be lacking for almost all other potential mediators.