Report: Egypt conditioning Netanyahu visit on support for two-state solution

Axios report: Netanyahu wants to visit Cairo, but Sisi has conditioned visit on Netanyahu making a positive statement on the PA issue.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Netanyahu meets Egyptian President Sisi
Netanyahu meets Egyptian President Sisi
Avi Ohayon/GPO

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu wants to visit Cairo, but Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has conditioned such a visit on Netanyahu making a positive statement on the Palestinian issue, such as re-committing to the two-state solution, Israeli sources told Barak Ravid of Axios on Wednesday.

According to the report, the Egyptians are concerned that they're on track for a rocky start with the Biden administration and want to reinvigorate their role in the Israeli-Palestinian Arab conflict to send a positive sign to the White House and to increase their relevance as a partner for Biden.

“Sisi doesn’t care so much about the Palestinian issue but he knows Netanyahu is looking for a photo-op for his election campaign and is trying to get a diplomatic achievement for Egypt out of it," a source familiar with the discussions told Ravid.

The report noted that the potential visit has been under discussion for several months as the Abraham Accords came together and the political transition began in the US

The visit almost took place about a month ago, but the Egyptians had second thoughts after early elections were called in Israel, two Israeli sources said.

The trip was postponed, and when talks resumed the Egyptians made the request for a goodwill gesture on the Palestinian issue in the context of the visit.

The visit is now on hold, but the Israeli sources said efforts are being made to find a compromise. Sources close to Netanyahu denied knowledge of any condition for the visit.

Ravid noted that Biden criticized Egypt during the election campaign for its human rights violations, and that the Egyptians fear their close ties with the Trump administration won't carry forward to Biden.

US-Egypt ties were strained under the Obama administration, which suspended American military aid to Egypt following the 2013 ouster of former President Mohammed Morsi, before releasing it two years later.

Following the election of Donald Trump, however, ties improved. Sisi praised Trump and said he expected greater engagement in the Middle East from his administration.