Netanyahu Welcomes Egyptian Leader’s Call for Peace

YERUSHALAYIM -
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, shown here leading the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's office in Yerushalayim on Sunday. (Emil Salman/POOL)
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, shown here leading the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister’s office in Yerushalayim on Sunday. (Emil Salman/POOL)

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu welcomed Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s call for a renewed effort in Mideast peacemaking just hours after al-Sisi spoke on Tuesday.
“Israel is prepared to cooperate with Egypt and with other Arab states to advance the diplomatic process and the stability in the region,” Netanyahu said.
“I appreciate President Sisi’s actions and am encouraged by the leadership that he is displaying, including on this important issue,” he added, without making reference to the French peace initiative, which Israel opposes.

Although media reports focused on the Egyptian president’s support for the French initiative, the statement was actually broader, and Netanyahu apparently responded accordingly.

“There is an Arab initiative, there is currently a French initiative, and there are American efforts” to broker an Israeli-Palestinian settlement, al-Sisi was quoted by The Times of Israel as saying.

Al-Sisi urged Israeli parties and leaders to “please, reach an agreement so a solution can be found” and called for “a real reconciliation, and quickly” between Palestinian factions, offering Cairo’s support.

“If we are able to — all of us together — with effort and a real will and devotion, find a solution for this issue, and find hope for the Palestinians and security for the Israelis, I am telling you a new page will be written,” he said.

Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog also lauded al-Sisi’s speech, saying it showed peace is possible.

“I welcome the announcement,” he said. “This is a dramatic announcement that shows the possibility of a historic process. It is our duty to examine it seriously; otherwise we will find ourselves doing so after the next funeral [chas v’shalom]. It is vital to listen to the Egyptian president and take a serious and responsible look at this opportunity.”