Netanyahu Says Discussed Peace With Palestinians, Other Countries With Visiting Egyptian FM

Prime minister notes that Sameh Shoukry's trip to Jerusalem signifies close ties with Egypt, which are a 'security and international asset for Israel.'

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in Jerusalem on Sunday, July 10, 2016.
Lior Mizrahi

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that he discussed advancing peace with the Palestinians and with a number of other countries in his meeting a day earlier with the visiting Egyptian foreign minister.

"I met with Egypt's foreign minister yesterday. We discussed a number of issues of paramount importance for Israel, on advancing the peace and stability between us and the Palestinians, as well as with other countries," Netanyahu said at a Likud faction meeting Monday.

In a Sunday meeting in Jerusalem, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry told Netanyahu that confidence-building measures are needed on the Israeli-Palestinian front in light of the constant deterioration of the situation on the ground.

At the Sunday meeting, Netanyahu said that "I welcome President Sissi's recent offer to advance peace with the Palestinians and broader peace in our region," he said, referring to Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi.

On Monday, Netanyahu said that "the cooperation with Egypt is a security and international asset for Israel. It's the first time in nine years that an Egyptian foreign minister visits Israel. It signifies an important closeness on behalf of Israel and Egypt," he said.

"Alongside this activity regarding countries in our immediate surroundings, we are acting to widen Israel's access to and relations with countries on five continents."

"The large superpowers of Asia – China, India, Japan and Vietnam – [it's] happening with everyone, strengthening ties and making far-reaching agreements. With Russia, with Middle Eastern countries, Cyprus, Greece and now Turkey. With countries in Latin America and recently a very important trip to Africa," Netanyahu said.

"It needs to be understood that the automatic majority against Israel first and foremost leans on the bloc countries in Latin America. If we succeed in checking this, it will change our international standing in all types of forums," he said.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg quoted a former senior Israeli official as saying that Israel had launched several drone strikes on militants in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula in recent years. The attacks were carried out with Egypt's blessing, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Israel's deputy military chief, Maj. Gen. Yair Golan, also quoted in the article, said cooperation between Israel and Egypt has never been better.