Bennett stars in first visit in ten years by an Israeli prime minister to Egypt


Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was received on Monday by Egyptian President Abdelfatá al Sisi in the city of Sharm el Sheikh, on the Red Sea, and became the first Israeli Prime Minister to visit Egypt on an official trip in the last ten years.

The Egyptian Presidency has published an image of the meeting in which the two leaders can be seen sitting in front of the flags of the two countries and has reported that they will address possible ways to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

“It was a very important and very good meeting,” Bennett said after the meeting. “Israel is opening up to the countries of the region,” he added.

In addition, the Israeli leader stressed that “peace between Israel and Egypt is the basis for this recognition” and “therefore, both parties must invest to strengthen this relationship and that is what we have done today.” In fact, Bennett believes this date “lays the foundation for deeper relationships to advance.”

Israeli sources have subsequently reported that Iran and its support for armed groups in the region has been one of the main topics of the meeting. They have also dealt with the Turkish influence in Libya, the tension between Egypt and Ethiopia over the Nile dam or the threat of jihadist groups.

Regarding Gaza, they have addressed possible measures to prevent the rearmament of the Hamas militia such as improving surveillance at the Rafah border crossing and the issue of the Israelis abducted in the Gaza Strip.

Egypt has previously served as a mediator in negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. The most recent is the ceasefire between the Gaza and Israeli militias that ended eleven days of open warfare in May. Thirteen people died in Israel and 255 in Gaza. However, the peace negotiations have been broken since 2014.

Media in the region have recently reported possible Egyptian-mediated contacts for a prisoner swap between Israel and Hamas. Two Israeli civilians and the bodies of two soldiers have been held in Gaza for years, and Hamas is asking in return for the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.

In addition, the Al Arabiya network has reported that Al Sisi could offer Bennett to host a Palestinian-Israeli peace conference. Egypt signed Israel’s first peace and recognition treaty from the Arab world in 1979.

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