Egypt’s Sisi Meets President of World Jewish Congress in Cairo
Egyptian President Abdel al-Fattah al-Sisi on Sunday met in Cairo with Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, an international federation that represents world Jewry. According to a statement released by al-Sisi’s office, the two men discussed regional issues with a focus on “developments in the Middle East peace process, pushing forward the efforts to revive negotiations and reaching a just and comprehensive resolution to the Palestinian cause.” To this end, the Egyptian leader stressed the importance of achieving intra-Palestinian reconciliation and restoring the Palestinian Authority’s control over the Gaza Strip. Lauder, who reportedly was making his fourth trip to Cairo in the last 18 months, is a confidante of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (albeit reports suggest their relationship is strained) and previously has acted as an intermediary between Sunni Muslim countries and the Jewish state. The visit comes as Israel and Hamas are on the cusp of full-blown war, with Egypt playing the role of mediator as the two sides attempt to forge a long-term ceasefire agreement. Among the ideas being floated is the restoration of PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ administrative control over Gaza; however, his ruling Fatah faction has been unable to come to terms with rival Hamas, which has ruled the Palestinian enclave since ousting Abbas in an internecine conflict over a decade ago.