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Egypt, which helped mediate between Hamas and Israel, confirmed the start time of the truce and that 13 hostages would be released in the afternoon, adding in statements from its state information service that it was receiving lists of captives due to be freed on both sides.

https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/mediator-qatar-says-truce-gaza-start-friday-2023-11-23/

What gives Egypt the authority or leverage to act as a mediator between Hamas and Israel?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamas

Egypt is considered to be an opponent of Hamas contrarily to Qatar, which is considered to be an ally of Hamas, so how did Egypt obtain the authority or leverage to act as a mediator between Hamas and Israel. It seems even the United States or China doesn't have the authority or leverage to act as a serious mediator in this crisis.

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    The obvious answer is that Egypt controls the border through which Gaza gets any aid. Israel has refused to [re]open any points along their border with Gaza for aid (unless you count a water pipe etc.) Nov 27, 2023 at 0:45
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    FWIW, being a mediator doesn't require any authority or leverage. All that is necessary is that both parties are willing to talk to you and have you assist them in communicating with someone else at the current moment. A mediator is not a judge. It isn't uncommon for a country or person completely unrelated to the parties or the dispute to serve as a mediator. For example, a Vice President of a Japanese construction company who had personal friends in the Israeli government and in Hamas could also serve as a mediator in this dispute.
    – ohwilleke
    Nov 27, 2023 at 0:58
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    To add to the above, it's common for small (in population) countries such as Norway, Finland, or indeed Qatar to act as intermediaries. This isn't because they are particularly powerful or able to exert a direct influence, but because they're seen as fair and efficient mediators.
    – Stuart F
    Nov 28, 2023 at 16:05

1 Answer 1

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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 Hamas. ...

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.

April 2022:

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.

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    Well, Morsi died in prison. Nov 27, 2023 at 1:01
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    +1 However, Egypt maintains contacts with both Palestinian groups and Israel, is an understatement - Egypt has long-standing diplomatic relationships with Israel. I suggest adding this explicitly to the answer (reducing general ignorance about this conflict does good to both Israel and Palestinians.)
    – Roger V.
    Nov 27, 2023 at 10:40
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    @RogerV. Agreed - accurate information helps. I'm not sure it's really a discriminator in this particular situation, though. Jordan, for example, has had full relations with Israel since 1994 - almost 20 years. The fact that Egypt has mediated between Hamas and Israel in the recent past is, IMO, critical in the current situation.
    – Just Me
    Nov 27, 2023 at 15:15
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    Remember that Hamas is not just a "Palestinian group" - it is the ruling party since the last election in 2006, after which it formed the government. The Palestinian (proto)-state split into two parts, and while in the WB the government lost its control, it's kept it in Gaza. So Egypt keeps contact with the branch of the "State of Palestine" in Gaza, not just with Hamas-the-movement.
    – einpoklum
    Nov 27, 2023 at 23:59
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    @einpoklum you misinterpret the Palestinian political system - Hamas was the largest party in the parliament and were invited to form the government. They militarily overthrew this political system in Gaza - ousting the elected president and eliminating the opposition parties. Also, if they didn't carry out the coup, their mandate would have expired by no several times over. Aside, even as an elected party they never intended to abide by the civilized world norms - the genocide was still in their program.
    – Roger V.
    Nov 28, 2023 at 6:45

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