Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met secretly with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a foreign diplomatic source said on Monday. According to the Israeli Channel 10, the meeting took place on May 22 last.
The channel reported that Netanyahu flew to Egypt, accompanied by a small number of advisers and guards, where he stayed in Cairo for several hours, before participating in a Ramadan breakfast,
The channel also quoted US officials as saying that Netanyahu and Sisi had discussed “a plan that includes a ceasefire, the return of the Palestinian Authority to the Gaza Strip, facilities in the Israeli and Egyptian siege on the Gaza Strip and the development of infrastructure.”
However, the Israeli newspaper “Yedioth Ahronoth,” said the Prime Minister’s Office had declined to comment about the meeting.
The newspaper pointed to the role played by Egypt in an attempt to reach a settlement between Israel and Hamas. It also quoted a Palestinian source familiar with the contacts that took place following the recent escalation saying that the talks in Cairo were aimed at restoring the situation to what it was, under the title of “calm in exchange for calm.”
The newspaper did not rule out that Netanyahu and Sisi had discussed at the secret meeting the issue of “the return of the bodies of the soldiers Hadar Goldin and Shaul Oron, in addition to the release of other citizens held in Gaza.”
Netanyahu and Sisi had previously met in September 2017 in New York, the first public meeting since Sisi took office in 2014.
At the time, a spokesman for the Egyptian president said the meeting focused on “ways to renew the peace process,” and noted that Sisi stressed the importance of renewing negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
At the same time, the office of the Israeli Prime Minister said that the meeting lasted approximately an hour and a half and was “comprehensive and focused on the issues of the region.” It also said that “Sisi expressed his desire to help achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and in the region.”