The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Monday that Egypt is closely following the cases of Palestinians in Israeli prisons.
Deputy spokesperson for the ministry Nazih El Naggary said: “Egypt attaches great importance to the issue of Palestinian prisoners and Arabs in Israeli jails.”
El Naggary cited Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohamed Amr’s recent visit to Ramallah, during which he met with the State of Palestine’s (previously known as the Palestinian Authority before 3 January) minister for prisoners’ affairs Issa Qaraqe and the families of some prisoners.
El Naggary said Egypt will push the Israeli side on the issue of treatment of prisoners, “including cases of prisoners who have been arrested again by the Israeli authorities.”
Last week a Palestinian delegation headed by Qaraqe visited Cairo to discuss the issue with Egyptian officials.
The Arab League called for Palestinian prisoners to be categorised as prisoners of war which would secure their rights under international law.
Amr recently asserted that Egypt does not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries in response to a question regarding Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood members in the United Arab Emirates.
Abdel Aleem Mohamed from the Ahram Centre for Strategic Studies said the ministry’s statement did not constitute interference in Israeli affairs. He said the issue of Palestinian prisoners in Israel “is the concern of all Arabs.”
He added that the statement was “not an escalation because it was very diplomatic.” He also said that the statement “could be because of all the attention given to prisoners in the UAE and might be an attempt to balance it out.”
President Mohamed Morsy sent his foreign relations adviser, Essam El Haddad to the UAE for talks with officials there.
Amr’s comments came after UAE media reported that officials from the Gulf state expressed “wonder” as to why Egypt was so interested in the imprisoned Brotherhood members when 350 other Egyptians were also in jail.
President of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas signed a decree on 3 January officially changing the name of the Palestinian Authority to the State of Palestine, following international recognition by the United Nations in November.