The leader of the Arab nation with the longest running peace deal with Israel called for peace between Israel and the Palestinians on Tuesday, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his appreciation of the message. The speech from Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi comes after a meeting between he and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and ahead of an Arab summit on the topic of Middle East peace, according to a report from Ahram Online.
The article quoted Sisi as arguing that a solution to the conflict would give “hope to Palestinians and security to the Israelis.” He further said that Arab nations are working on the matter in various ways. Netanyahu, who has repeatedly called for direct peace talks with Abbas that the Palestinians keep rejecting, said in a press release that “Israel is ready to participate with Egypt and other Arab states in advancing both the diplomatic process and stability in the region.”
Sisi called for the Palestinians to achieve internal unity first “as to be able to reach a real reconciliation.” The primary Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah have been largely divided since 2007, despite multiple attempts to reunite.
Sisi noted that many did not think Israel-Egyptian peace was possible—but here it is almost four decades later. While it is considered a “cold peace” now, Sisi expressed the belief that peace between his nation and Israel would grow “much warmer” only if there is peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
Perhaps taking a cue from former President Anwar Sadat who set up the peace accords with Israel by making a speech in Jerusalem, Sisi called for his speech to be broadcast in Israel multiple times.
Netanyahu responded warmly. In comments released by his office, he said, “I welcome Egyptian President El-Sisi’s remarks and his willingness to make every effort to advance a future of peace and security between us and the Palestinians and the peoples of the region… I appreciate President El-Sisi’s work and also draw encouragement from his leadership on this important issue.”
Netanyahu has repeatedly slammed efforts to impose or predetermine peace terms from the outside—including a recent proposal from France—while inviting Abbas to discuss peace directly time and again.
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, May 17, 2016)