Cairo – Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on Monday to discuss Israel-Palestinian ties and bilateral ties in the first official visit by an Egyptian head of government in a decade.
Bennett, who took office in June, was invited by CC last month to come. Since May, Egypt has played a major role in trying to strengthen a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip after 11 days of conflict between Israel and the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, which controls the enclave.
Bennett said the talks at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh included diplomacy, security and economy. “We laid the foundation for a deeper relationship moving forward,” he said before heading home.
In the discussion, Sisi cited the importance of international support for Egypt’s efforts to maintain peace in the Palestinian territories and reconstruction efforts there, according to an Egyptian presidential statement.
The escalation in cross-border violence since late August has tested the delicate conflict in Gaza. Over the past week, Palestinian militants have fired rockets into Israel for three consecutive nights, triggering Israeli airstrikes.
The presidential statement said Sisi “reaffirmed Egypt’s support for all efforts to achieve comprehensive peace in the Middle East, in accordance with the two-state solution.”
Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians failed in 2014 and analysts say they have little chance of revival. Bennett opposes the Palestinian state. His government has focused on policies to improve the economic situation in the Palestinian territories.
Egypt was the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, but relations remained calm, limited to security cooperation and limited economic ties.
Israel and Egypt placed Gaza under blockade, citing threats from Hamas.
Cairo allowed the Gaza ceasefire to re-establish its diplomatic role in the region in the wake of deals signed by four Arab states to normalize ties with Israel last year.
Bennett’s visit appeared to promote transport connectivity between Egypt and Israel.
Israel’s Ministry of Transport said the Taba crossing between Israel and the Sinai, an entry point for Israeli tourists, will be fully operational from Monday as restrictions were lifted during the coronavirus pandemic.
Sources in Egypt’s national carrier said that from October, EgyptAir will start operating multiple flights a week between Cairo and Tel Aviv.
Diplomats and security sources said Bennett and Sisi were also expected to discuss regional issues, including Iran’s influence in the Middle East and the Lebanon crisis.
The last official visit of an Israeli prime minister to Egypt was when Benjamin Netanyahu met with former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Sharm el-Sheikh in January 2011, just before Mubarak was overthrown.
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times