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Arabic press review: US tells Egypt to secure Israel-Hamas prisoner exchange

Meanwhile, Moroccans turn on Israeli envoy in Rabat, Algeria's French ambassador denounces Le Monde and a Kuwaiti newspaper publishes a Jerusalem edition
A man carrying a boy watches as building equipment, sent by Egypt for Palestinians, arrives in the southern Gaza Strip (Reuters)

Egypt mediating Hamas and Israel prisoner exchange

Fresh on the heels of its intervention brokering a ceasefire in Gaza last month, Egypt is once again playing the role of mediator, this time with a prisoner exchange deal between Hamas and Israel, London-based newspaper al-Araby al-Jadeed reports.

"The Egyptian leadership received clear demands from the US administration for the speedy completion of this file, considering it the most important after the ceasefire," the paper said.

Egyptian sources told the daily that Cairo would provide aid and assistance to the Gaza Strip as an incentive to Hamas, hoping it would motivate the movement into finalising the deal.

The sources said that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was regularly following up the file, and believed "the swap deal is a test set by US President Joe Biden for his Egyptian counterpart".

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They alleged that Sisi instructed officials to meet Hamas’ demands that humanitarian aid is delivered to Palestinians and Gaza, which is the group’s main focus following its 11-day conflict with Israel.

According to the sources, Hamas’ military wing also requested a supply of building materials, which it wants separate from the reconstruction programme overseen by the international community.

The sources noted that Hamas set this condition so it would not be later accused of exploiting reconstruction materials and funds for military purposes, and the group sought “dual-use” goods, which Israel prohibits from entering Gaza as it says they can be used to build weapons.

"There has been noticeable progress in the swap deal negotiations within the scope of Egypt’s interest in the file," the paper quoted the sources as saying, adding: "Hamas was able to impose its vision, which consists of separating the talks over the deal and the reconstruction of Gaza".

Moroccan activists call for Israeli envoy's expulsion

A number of Moroccan activists have launched a campaign calling for the expulsion of the representative of Israel in Rabat, David Govrin, pan-Arab paper al-Quds al-Arabi writes.

Using the hashtag “Expel the representative of Israel” on Facebook and Twitter, the activists have attracted widespread support for their cause.

Thousands of Moroccans also used pictures of the Palestinian flag and the Dome of the Rock as profile photos to express their support for the Palestinian cause.

“Residents of the capital, Rabat, refuse to have the head of Israel's liaison office in Rabat, David Govrin, live among them,” said journalist Hassan al-Yousifi.

Activist Rashid Brim posted on his Facebook page: "The representative of the occupation is not welcome in Morocco, and interacting with the digital campaign is the least we can do to support our people in Palestine, Jerusalem and the holy al-Aqsa Mosque. Participation is necessary until we purify the land of Morocco, which has been desecrated by the Zionists."

On 10 December last year, Morocco and Israel announced they were resuming diplomatic relations after they had been severed in 2000, making Morocco the fourth Arab country to accept normalisation with Israel in 2020, after the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan.

Algerian ambassador denounces Le Monde

A diplomatic and media row is brewing across the Mediterranean, Echorouk Online reports, with Algeria's ambassador to Paris, Mohamed Antar Daoud, denouncing what he described as the "intense hostility" exhibited by Le Monde newspaper.

The Algerian ambassador said in a letter he sent to the French newspaper: "In its 5 June 2021 issue, your newspaper included an editorial that has been marked with an unprecedented hostility towards my country, its institutions and symbols, under the scandalous title: ‘Algeria in a tyrannical predicament’.”

Daoud lamented what he called "the article’s deliberate and violent attack against the president of the republic and the military establishment", wondering whether "Le Monde newspaper serves the ambiguous interests of groups that oppose the establishment of peaceful relations between Algeria and France".

He stressed that "the question remains unanswered" and wondered why such criticism always seemed to coincide with Algerian elections.

Kuwaiti newspaper publishes supplement dedicated to Jerusalem

Kuwait and its people have regularly been commended for their unwavering support for the Palestinian cause as its Gulf neighbours warm relations with Israel, and on Sunday its al-Rai newspaper printed a Jerusalem special edition dedicated to Israeli violations in the holy city.

The supplement, entitled “Qudsuna” (Our Jerusalem), featured drawings of al-Aqsa Mosque and articles related to the Palestinian cause.

During the recent Israeli war on the Gaza Strip, Kuwaiti newspapers stood out for their remarkable coverage in solidarity with the Palestinians. Kuwait’s parliament also passed a law criminalising normalisation and banning any kind of cooperation with any Israeli group.

* Arabic press review is a digest of reports that are not independently verified as accurate by Middle East Eye.