Report: Mubarak Defers Netanyahu Meeting Over East Jerusalem Demolitions

Al-Shorouq report comes as Israeli officials cite the Egyptian president's deteriorating health as a possible reason for recent repeated postponements.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak postponed his planned meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over Israel's recent demolition of illegal Palestinian structures in East Jerusalem, Army Radio quoted the Egyptian daily Al-Shorouq as reporting Wednesday.

Benjamin Netanyahu meeting Mubarak

The report comes as Israeli officials cited Mubarak's deteriorating health earlier Wednesday as the possible reason for repeated deferments if the meeting with Netanyahu, which was supposed to take place this week.

Speaking with Al-Shorouq on Wednesday, a senior Egyptian official denied reports of Mubarak's ailing health, saying the meeting was pushed back due to "provocative moves made by Israel."

According to Israel Radio, the official was referring to Tuesday's demolition of illegal Palestinians structures in East Jerusalem, which effectively ended an unofficial freeze of such internationally condemned demolitions.

In March, the Egyptian president visited Germany to undergo an operation that both his office and the hospital described as "complicated," though neither offered further details. On Tuesday, Lebanon's As-Safir newspaper reported that most recent postponement of the Mubarak-Netanyahu meet had occurred due to the Egyptian leader's plans to travel to Germany for additional treatment.

Also speaking Wednesday, a senior official in the Egyptian government told Reuters
that "What has been published about the president going to Germany is rumor. The president is in good health," adding that Mubarak would hold meetings next week as planned.

An Israeli official said the meeting between Mubarak and Netanyahu had been rescheduled for Sunday. Mubarak is also expected to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas the same day, a Palestinian official said.

Rumors about Mubarak's health have rattled markets in the past because he has no designated successor. He has not picked a vice president, the post he held before taking office.

Mubarak, in power since Anwar Sadat was assassinated in 1981, has not announced whether he would run for a sixth six-year term in the presidential election of 2011. If he does not, many Egyptians believe the post will probably go to his politician son Gamal, 46.

Both president and son deny any such plan.