Netanyahu Meets with Egyptian FM to Revitalize Peace Talks

Adjust Comment Print

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry was in Jerusalem for meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and a flurry of public statements to the media.

In May, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi urged both sides to seize the opportunity to make a historic peace, offering Israel the prospect of warmer ties if this were achieved.

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.

In 1979, Egypt was the first Arab state to sign a peace treaty with Israel after years of conflict, and it remains an influential player in the region.

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.

After weeks of rumors and speculation, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit confirmed on Sunday evening that an examination into information regarding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's actions has been covertly going on, as a preliminary step before deciding whether to open a police investigation.

Egypt under former president Hosni Mubarak had long played a mediating role, hosting talks as recently as September 2010. "Its only objective is to divert the worldwide community from Israel's true intention, making the creation of a Palestinian state impossible and maintaining the brutal occupation of the Palestinians indefinitely".

After the Justice Ministry confirmed it was looking into suspicions, Israeli media began to report that either Mr Netanyahu or one of his family members had received a large sum of money unrelated to polictical campaigns.

Since September, Palestinians have killed 34 Israelis and two visiting Americans in dozens of attacks. Shoukry responded in the affirmative, the official said.

On Sunday, Netanyahu announced a $12.9 million plan to strengthen two Israeli settlements in the southern West Bank, saying the government will "assist the residents who stand heroically in the face of vicious terrorism".

El-Sisi is a proponent of the Arab Peace Initiative, which would entail Arab countries fully recognizing Israel in return for Israel withdrawing from areas it captured in the 1967 Six-Day War and creating a "just solution" for Palestinian refugees.

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".