World Media

Egyptian minister in a rare visit to Israel for peace talks


Shoukry arrived in Israel on the same day, in a first visit by an Egyptian foreign minister to Israel since 2007, and made the statements to reporters prior to his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Diplomatic sources told Asharq Al-Awsat: "Shoukry's visit to Israel, which is the first by an Egyptian foreign minister in nine years, shows there is a progress in the direction of reviving the Egyptian initiative for peace".

The Palestinian Authority has encouraged the Egyptians to help broker confidence-building measures, said an official who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

The scandals which have dogged both he and his wife Sara, aside from ongoing global criticism over the occupation of Palestinian territories, has painted the couple as enjoying a lavish lifestyle out of touch with the average Israeli.

Egypt was the first of a handful of Arab countries to recognise Israel with a USA -sponsored peace accord in 1979, but Egyptians' attitudes to their neighbour remain icy. "This is the only way we can address all the outstanding problems between us and turn the vision of peace based on two states for two peoples into a reality", he added. His comments had angered many Egyptians, many of whom still reject normal relations with their neighbor almost four decades after the Egypt-Israel peace treaty was signed. He has instead talked about pursing an Israeli Palestinian peace through regional agreements between Israel and its Arab neighbors. However, the French efforts are still troubled.

Emmanuel Navon, a Tel Aviv University political scientist who studies Israel-Africa relations, said he was skeptical that Netanyahu's visit would lead African countries to change their United Nations voting patterns.

"Such a monumental achievement would have far-reaching, dramatic and positive impact on the overall conditions in the Middle East region". Netanyahu has endorsed the idea of an independent Palestinian state, but he opposes a return to Israel's pre-1967 borders and has continued to build Jewish settlements on occupied lands.

"Armed conflicts and disputes have also spread throughout the region, resulting in alarming humanitarian suffering and threatens the stability of the Middle East", he said.

A spokesperson for the prime minister said in a statement to the press that allegations against the prime minister are unfounded. "No person, group or people are exempt; none are immune from this threat".

Following Al-Sisi " s declarations in May, Netanyahu expressed a willingness to participate in peace talks with the Palestinians and any other Arab country that can take part in the negotiations.

Mr Netanyahu has said he would seek changes to the Arab proposal.

The minister went on to say that Egypt is willing to offer "all possible forms of support" throughout the peace talks, while highlighting the need for peace and stability in the Middle East "is becoming ever more volatile and risky".

Mandelblit was famously recommended by Netanyahu for the attorney general position directly following his position as cabinet secretary, a move that caused a great deal of criticism over his appointment from those fearing he would act on the prime minister's behalf.

Israel claims the Hebron area settlers have been affected by the violenceand that around 80 of the attacks on Israelis have been carried out by Palestinians from the Hebron area.