Egypt gears up to push for resumption of Mideast peace talks

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Netanyahu said it "illustrates the change that has taken place in Israeli-Egyptian ties, including President El-Sisi's important call to advance peacemaking, with the Palestinians as well as Arab states".

Egypt's foreign minister paid a visit to Israel on Sunday, saying that his country remains a "steadfast and unwavering" supporter of a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians but warning that conditions for achieving that are deteriorating.

Egypt's foreign ministry said in a statement that Shoukry's visit was part of a push by Cairo to build confidence between Israel and the Palestinians with the ultimate aim of resuming direct talks to reach a comprehensive settlement that would give the Palestinians a state and Israel security.

Israeli soldiers check a auto as they block vehicles from crossing from the West Bank city of Hebron to Yatta village on July 6, 2016, as Palestinians try to enter the village to visit relatives to celebrate the Eid Al-Fitr holiday.

The last Republican platform, adopted in 2012, expressed support for "Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state with secure, defensible borders", and envisions "two democratic states - Israel with Jerusalem as its capital and Palestine - living in peace and security".

Sisi called on both Palestinians and Israelis previously to seize the opportunity and make historical peace, giving Israel the tantalizing prospect of deeper ties.

But some analysts have questioned whether Mr Netanyahu's comments were an attempt to fend off worldwide critics over his appointment of hardline Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman and his opposition to the French plan. As a peace broker, Egypt would have an advantage in that it is able to speak for a majority of Arab states.

The allegations have not been made public, although the reports say that it is a money-laundering probe separate from previous cases against Netanyahu.

The examination, announced late Sunday, could prove a new challenge for Netanyahu, who has been fighting off accusations of shady dealings and financial mismanagement against him and his wife.

Sisi recently made a high-profile speech calling for a resumption of efforts to bring peace between Israelis and Palestinians. In particular, the two sides share intelligence in a common battle against Islamic militants operating in Egypt's Sinai desert and the Gaza Strip.

She said: "Despite mainly tackling the Palestinian issue, (Israeli and Palestinian officials) also spoke about the situation in Syria, the Israeli-Turkish rapprochement and efforts to fight terrorism".

Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank are considered illegal under worldwide law and major stumbling blocks in negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis.

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