Bennett, Sissi discuss Iran, Hamas during first meeting in Egypt

Egyptian media has reported that during the meeting, Sissi will offer to host Bennett and Palestinian leaders for peace talks in the near future.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi at the Red Sea resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh in southern Egypt, with the two leaders discussing regional security issues and economic cooperation.

The meeting comes after a statement last month from Bennett, who said that Sissi had invited him to meet in Egypt “to strengthen and expand relations between the countries in the region.”

“Prime Minister Bennett thanked Egyptian President El-Sisi for Egypt’s important role in the region and noted that in the over 40 years since it was signed, the peace agreement between the two countries continues to serve as a foundation for security and stability in the Middle East,” read a statement from the Israeli premier’s office.

“Prime Minister Bennett emphasized Egypt’s significant role in maintaining the security stability in the Gaza Strip and in finding a solution to the issue of the [Israeli] captives and missing [held in the Strip.]”

The two men also discussed the Iranian nuclear threat, Turkey’s role in Libya, and expanding trade and tourism agreements between Israel and Egypt.

“The meeting was very important and very good. During the meeting, first and foremost, we created a foundation for deep ties in the future,” said Bennett in a post-meeting statement.

“Israel is increasingly opening up to the countries of the region, and the basis of this longstanding recognition is the peace between Israel and Egypt. Therefore, on both sides we must invest in strengthening this link, and we have done so today.”

Egyptian media reported that during the meeting, Sissi offered to host Bennett and Palestinian leaders for peace talks in the near future.

The meeting comes on the heels of rising tensions between Israel and various Palestinian groups, including Gaza-based terror group Hamas and the Palestinain Authority.

Just two weeks ago, Defense Minister Benny Gantz met with PA President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, in what many believed was a signal that the Jewish State was interested in resuming peace talks with the Palestinians.

Egypt has long served as a critical interlocutor between the Jewish State and Hamas, with the African nation recently pressuring the terror group to temporarily pause arson balloon launches from the Strip.

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At a trilateral summit in Cairo in early September, Abbas, Sissi, and Jordan’s King Abdullah ii discussed the importance of resuming negotiations for a two-state solution to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as supporting Abbas’ resistance to “dangerous repercussions” stemming from Jewish building in Judea and Samaria.

At the time, a statement from Palestinian news agency Wafa confirmed that Abbas was ready to embrace “confidence-building steps” with Israel aimed at “achieving comprehensive calm in Palestinian lands.”

But a jail break last week, which saw 6 Palestinian prisoners held on serious security offenses escape from a prison in northern Israel, triggered a breakdown in calm.

As Israeli authorities searched for the escapees, Gaza-based terror groups resumed launching rockets at southern Israeli communities from the Strip – the first rocket attacks since the ceasefire that ended May 2021’s Operation Guardian of the Walls clash.

In July, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid met with his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry, in Brussels, discussing a wide range of topics including freeing Israeli hostages that are currently held by terror groups in the Gaza Strip.