For the first time in a decade, an Israeli prime minister is visiting Egypt. The North African country is the most populous Arab country and the first to sign a peace agreement with Israel.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in Sharm el-Sheikh to discuss, among other things, bilateral and regional issues and “efforts to restart the peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” according to a spokesman for the president.
The meeting between the two leaders is infrequent. The last time an Israeli prime minister traveled to Egypt was in January 2011. Then, a meeting between former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak took place in Sharm el-Sheikh, just before Mubarak’s regime was overthrown.
Egypt also became the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, yet relations between the two countries have always remained rather cool.
Violence between Israelis and Palestinians
Outside of regional issues, such as Iran’s influence in the Middle East and the crisis situation in Lebanon, Naftali Bennett and Abdel Fattah al-Sissi would also talk about the peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
Peace talks ended in a halt in 2014, and experts say there is little hope that they can be restarted. For example, the nationalist Bennett is a fierce opponent of Palestinian independence.
Moreover, the violence between the Israelis and the Palestinians, which has risen sharply again since August, will not contribute to favorable talks.