A senior Israeli official confirmed on Saturday that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will avoid discussing the Palestinian issue with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi during their scheduled meeting next week in Sharm El-Sheikh.
Israel’s Channel 13 quoted the official saying that the discussion in the upcoming meeting between Bennett and Sisi will focus on security issues, just as was the case in the meeting that brought together Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas last week.
The official explained that Bennett wants to avoid addressing the Palestinian cause, as preoccupation with this issue will certainly lead to the collapse of his government.
Bennett is a hardline nationalist who opposes Palestinian statehood and previously led a powerful settler lobbying council.
Sisi invited the new Israeli premier to an official visit in Egypt on 18 August, a statement issued by Bennett’s office said.
Israeli daily Yedioth Aharonoth reported that Israeli government official Alian visited Egypt last week, accompanied by the head of the Middle East and Africa division in the National Security Council, to coordinate Bennett’s visit and ask asking Cairo to exert pressure on Hamas.
Egypt played a key role in negotiations between Israel and Hamas, including a ceasefire, following Israel’s 11-day bombardment of Gaza.
The last time an Israeli prime minister made a public visit to Egypt was in 2011, when Benjamin Netanyahu met former President Hosni Mubarak in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh.