by WorldTribune Staff, July 10, 2016
Israel and Egypt moved toward improved ties on July 10 as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in Jerusalem.
It was the first high level meeting between top officials of the two countries in nearly a decade and comes as Israel’s military has saluted the “unprecedented” intelligence cooperation with Egypt to combat Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL).
Shoukry said it was a “crucial and challenging juncture for the Middle East” and added that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would have a “far-reaching and dramatic and positive impact on the overall conditions of the Middle East region.”
“Egypt remains ready to contribute toward achieving this goal.”
Netanyahu said he welcomed Egyptian President Abdul Fatah Sisi’s “recent offer of Egyptian leadership and efforts to advance peace with the Palestinians and a broader peace in our region.”
Sisi said in May there was a “real opportunity” for an Israeli-Palestinian deal that could lead to improved relations between his country and Israel.
An Israeli official said Netanyahu asked Shoukry for Egypt’s help in returning the bodies of two Israeli soldiers held by Hamas in Gaza, as well as two Israeli civilians detained by the Islamist movement in the Palestinian enclave. Shoukry responded in the affirmative, the official said.
On June 29, Shoukry met Palestinian leaders during a visit to the West Bank city of Ramallah.