Report: Egypt Conditions Netanyahu Visit on Gesture to Palestinians
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has conditioned a planned visit to Cairo by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on the latter expressing his support for a two-state solution or making an alternative gesture toward the Palestinians, the Israeli news site Walla reported on Wednesday. The trip has been on the agenda for months. Following the disbanding of the Israeli parliament and scheduling of the fourth round of elections in under two years – to be held March 23 – efforts to facilitate the visit were suspended, but they were recently renewed, Walla reports.
Both sides see such a visit as beneficial. Netanyahu expects the visit to boost his re-election campaign and the Egyptian government hopes an official Israeli visit will set its relations with US President Joe Biden on a positive path. The Egyptians also hope to reposition themselves as central to Israeli-Palestinian relations.
“President el-Sisi doesn’t care too much about the Palestinian matter, but he knows that Netanyahu is looking for a photo-op for the re-election campaign and wishes to get a diplomatic boon for Egypt,” the report quotes a source involved in the matter.
Netanyahu is reportedly hesitant to make any such gesture with elections at hand. Sources close to the prime minister have denied that such a demand was made.
Israeli-Egyptian relations, formally established in 1979, have been termed a “cold peace”; Netanyahu last visited the neighboring country more than a decade ago.