While an Israeli declaration of sovereignty over parts of Yehudah and Shomron on July 1 is still unclear, talks between Israel and moderate Sunni countries are continuing behind the scenes.
Senior Arab diplomatic, defense and intelligence officials in Egypt and Jordan confirmed to Yisrael Hayom on Monday that the past several weeks have seen a flurry of diplomatic activity between Israel and moderate Arab countries, aimed at reaching reach an agreement on the nature and scope of the response from Sunni Arab countries, if Israel applies sovereignty. Chief among these countries are Egypt and Jordan, which have peace treaties with Israel.
One senior Arab diplomat said that Mossad chief Yossi Cohen and the head of Egypt’s General Intelligence Service Abbas Kamal were at the forefront of the talks, and in recent meetings agreed that Israel would implement its sovereignty plan while Arab countries would voice formal objections while not significantly damaging diplomatic relations between the countries.
A senior Egyptian official told Yisrael Hayom that Palestinian concerns about the nature of Cairo’s response to Israel’s sovereignty bid were justified, since Cohen and Kamal have already agreed in principle to the scope and tone of an Egyptian response.
Egyptian defense officials have in turn prevailed upon their Jordanian counterparts to recommend to Jordanian King Abdullah II to react with only a declarative condemnation of the Israeli initiative, without taking steps that would harm the country’s peace accord with Israel.
“Egyptian involvement in Libya, amid the security developments there, is a much greater priority than the Palestinian issue and the interests of [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas], who hastily turned to Turkey, which is scheming against us in Libya, and asked it to spearhead a comprehensive Arab struggle against the Israeli sovereignty plan. Abbas’ request to [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan sparked anger not only in Egypt but in Jordan as well,” another senior Egyptian official told Yisrael Hayom, adding: “There is complete synchronicity between Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and King Abdullah. The national and security interests of Egypt and Jordan are the top priority for both leaders, even at the expense of Palestinian interests,” said the Egyptian official.
A senior Jordanian official confirmed that assessment in comments to Yisrael Hayom. “The message [Jordanian King Abdullah told Abbas via his foreign minister] … was about [Jordan’s] security coordination and diplomatic cooperation with Egypt on all matters pertaining to the Palestinians, and the possibility that Jordan, similar to Egypt, would solely suffice with a declarative denunciation of the Israeli annexation plan and certainly wouldn’t harm the peace treaty with Israel and the special security ties between the countries,” said the official, adding that “Turkish intervention in Libya isn’t only a threat to Egypt but to Jordanian interests as well. It proves just how far the Palestinians are willing to go in pursuit of their own interests, even if these run counter to the general Arab interests.”