Bennett, Sisi Discuss Gaza Rebuilding, Israeli Hostages in First Call
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi spoke for the first time since Bennett took office two weeks ago. They agreed to schedule an in-person meeting between them soon, according to a statement from the prime minister’s office. They “also discussed the importance of advancing bilateral economic, commercial and civil cooperation.”
The two leaders discussed “a broad range of bilateral, regional and international issues,” according to the statement.
“Prime Minister Bennett thanked President El-Sisi for his country’s important role in establishing stability, security and peace in the region, as well as on the Palestinian issue, with emphasis on its efforts to advance a solution on the issue of the captive and missing Israelis. The Egyptian President underscored the need to establish the cease-fire in the Gaza Strip, with the goal of improving the civil and humanitarian situation of the residents of the Strip, and noted the need to resume the diplomatic process.”
Egypt has pledged $500 million for reconstruction in Gaza, as has Qatar, but Israel will not allow any reconstruction to begin taking place until some progress is made on recovering the remains of two Israeli soldiers and the return of two Israeli citizens being held by Hamas in Gaza. Hamas, which controls the coastal strip, refuses to link the two subjects.