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Israeli PM Bennett, Egyptian President el-Sisi hold first phone call, agree to meet soon

Egypt plays a key role in negotiations between Israel and Hamas in Gaza

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (Photo: Ministry of Communications and Information Technology in Egypt via Wikimedia), Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

For the first time since he became Israel’s prime minister two weeks ago, Naftali Bennett spoke with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi whose country played a crucial role in securing the current ceasefire.

The Prime Minister’s Office confirmed that the phone conversation had taken place between the two leaders who reportedly agreed to meet as soon as possible. The Egyptian leader congratulated Bennett for becoming Israel’s new prime minister. The conversation covered a range of bilateral, regional and international issues.

Israel and Egypt signed a historic peace treaty in 1979, the first of its kind in the Middle East. While the peace treaty has been cold and formal for most of its duration, it has nevertheless constituted a crucial cornerstone for security and stability in the Middle East. Since becoming Egypt’s president in 2014, el-Sisi has gradually embraced warmer and closer diplomatic and security-related ties with the Jewish state. 

Bennett thanked the Egyptian leader for his leadership role in maintaining regional stability, particularly concerning Hamas and the volatile Gaza Strip. Hamas is an offshoot from the fundamentalist Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood that also threatens Egypt’s domestic security. Since events in Gaza affect Egypt, Cairo is keen on preventing a deterioration of the political situation in Gaza. 

In recent years, Egypt has played an important mediating role in the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Islamist terrorist organization Hamas, the ruling regime in the Gaza Strip. Egypt played an important mediating role as recently as during the 11-day long conflict in May between Israel and Gaza and is currently working to secure a prisoner exchange between Israel and Hamas. 

An Israeli delegation is reportedly scheduled to arrive in Egypt this week to discuss Cairo’s continuous role in boosting the Gaza ceasefire, according to the London-based Arab news outlet Al-Araby Al-Jadeed. 

Bringing fuel and other humanitarian essentials into the Gaza Strip has been essential in maintaining the fragile stability on the border between Israel and Gaza. 

In a tweet, Tor Wennesland, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, welcomed the decision to bring Qatari-funded fuel back into the Gaza Strip. 

During his conversation with Bennett, the Egyptian leader stressed the need for improving the humanitarian situation in Gaza and restarting the peace process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Egypt has been working hard to mediate reconciliation between the West Bank-based Fatah led by Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah and the Islamist rival Hamas in the Gaza Strip. However, Egyptian mediation efforts between Ramallah and Gaza have failed and the relations remain tense between the two warring Palestinian Arab factions.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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