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Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett held talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Monday during a rare trip to Egypt, reviving summit meetings between the two states. The two men discussed the security issue and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israeli leader Naftali Bennett paid a brief visit to Egypt on Monday (September 13th), the first by an Israeli head of government in ten years.

Naftali Bennett’s visit marks an “important step in view of the development of security and economic relations” between the two countries and their “common concern” vis-à-vis Gaza, said Nael Shama, specialist in Egyptian foreign policy.

The first country to sign peace with Israel in 1979, Egypt has long mediated to end cycles of violence between Israel and the Palestinian movement Hamas in power in Gaza and to try to reconcile Hamas with the Palestinian Authority. by Mahmoud Abbas.

Gaza at the center of concerns

A few days after receiving Mahmoud Abbas, Abdel Fattah al-Sissi invited to Sharm al-Sheikh, on the Red Sea, the very right-hander Bennett. The two men spoke of “efforts to relaunch the Israeli-Palestinian peace process”, which has stalled since 2014, the presidency said.

According to an Israeli diplomatic source, the Hebrew head of state addressed the fate of the bodies of two Israeli soldiers killed in 2014 in Gaza and two civilians, who entered the Palestinian enclave of their own accord and have been detained since.

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, whose country is bordered to the east by the Gaza Strip and Israel, pleaded for the reconstruction of infrastructure and buildings destroyed in Gaza under Israeli blockade for more than 15 years.

On Sunday, the head of diplomacy Yair Lapid had offered to “improve” the living conditions of Gazans in exchange for a commitment to “calm” Hamas. He put forward “the support and the implication of the Egyptian partners” to apply it.

Economic cooperation and the fight against terrorism in Sinai

While Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had recognized that his army had with Israel the “closest” cooperation in their history against “terrorists” in the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula (east), the question of the fight against “terrorism” was on the menu of discussions in Sharm el-Sheikh, where Egyptian and Israeli security leaders were present.

In return for peace, Egypt regained sovereignty over the Sinai occupied by Israel in 1967, but was forced to demilitarize it. However, since 2013, it has faced an insurgency led by a branch of the jihadists of the organization of the Islamic State (IS) which has questioned this state of affairs.

The two countries have recently developed their ties in the energy field. Since 2020, Egypt has received natural gas from Israel to liquefy it and re-export it to Europe, an agreement valued at 13.3 billion euros.

With regard to an Egyptian population for a long time resolutely hostile to normalization with Israel, the fact that since 2020, four Arab countries (the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan) have normalized ties with the state Hebrew was a game-changer.

And above all, explains political scientist Mostafa Kamel al-Sayed to AFP, unlike the Mubarak era, “the Sisi regime has managed to domesticate the opposition” after a broad campaign of repression.

With AFP

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