Citing sources in Jerusalem, Israel’s TV2 news reported the meeting between Sissi & Abbas on Friday is aimed at tilting the Egyptian peace initiative in the Palestinians’ favor, with Egypt preparing to back a list of Palestinian demands assembled by Abbas.
>Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to meet Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi Friday to push forward Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing coalition is reshuffled to include the right-wing nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu party.
Sissi has reportedly been working behind the scenes to galvanize support for a renewal of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, which has been stalled since US brokered negotiations broke down in 2014.
Earlier this month, Sissi made a rare televised speech directly addressing the Israelis and Palestinians, praising “true and lasting peace” between Egypt and Israel and imploring both sides to reach a peace settlement which he said would improve Israel’s relationship with Egypt and other Arab nations.
Reports circulating in Israeli media over the past weeks have suggested that the push by Sissi comes in response to Netanyahu’s recent attempts to add to his governing coalition.
After negotiations with opposition leader Isaac Herzog’s center-left Zionist Union were scuttled at the last minute, Yisrael Beiteinu formally joined the government on Wednesday afternoon with its controversial chairman Avigdor Lieberman set to be sworn in as defense minister next week.
Netanyahu spoke to Sissi last week, however, to assure him that Lieberman’s joining the coalition would not derail Egypt’s efforts to try and find a breakthrough,Ha’aretz reported.
Israel’s Channel 2 news, citing sources in Jerusalem, reported on Thursday that the meeting between Sissi and Abbas on Friday is aimed at tilting the Egyptian peace initiative in the Palestinians’ favor, with Egypt preparing to back a list of Palestinian demands assembled by Abbas.
Egypt has not officially confirmed it is leading any new peace push, although both Israeli and Palestinian diplomatic sources have, the Times of Israel reports.
The Palestinians’ Egyptian ambassador, Jamal al-Shoubaki, earlier this week said that the Egyptian initiative did not conflict with efforts by France to jumpstart the peace process, beginning with an international conference of ministers scheduled for June 3.
Netanyahu has repeatedly rejected the multilateral French peace initiative, and is in favor of instead holding direct talks with Abbas.
Netanyahu responded positively to Sissi’s earlier comments, saying that Israel “is ready to participate with Egypt and other Arab states in advancing both the diplomatic process and stability in the region.”
Senior Israeli officials arrived in Cairo earlier this week to hold talks with Egyptian diplomats.
Egypt has said that an agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians would improve Israel’s ties to Arab nations, who would be ready to take steps to normalize their relations with Israel, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said, if Israel agreed to hold negotiations.
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