Israel, Egypt held secret meeting over Gaza in May: Report

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Jerusalem, Aug 14 (IANS) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a secret meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo in May over the issue of the Gaza Strip, a media report said on Monday.

The Hebrew-language Channel 10 TV news reported Monday that the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office was not immediately available for comments, but quoted anonymous US officials as saying that Netanyahu and a few of his advisors took a flight to Cairo on May 22 to meet with Sisi.

The meeting focused on Egypt’s efforts to advance a diplomatic solution to the situation in Gaza, which includes the reinstatement of the Palestinian National Authority’s rule in Hamas-run Gaza and a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, Xinhua quoted the report as saying.

In return, Israel and Egypt would significantly ease their 11-year crippling blockade imposed on the Palestinian enclave to enable its rehabilitation.

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The two leaders also discussed the new US peace plan that the White House has been working to advance for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The latest severe escalation of fighting between Israel and Gaza came last week, as Israel struck hundreds of sites in Gaza, killing three, while Gaza militants launched about 200 rockets toward southern Israel without causing casualties.

Egypt and the US have been key players in the efforts to achieve a cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas.

Sisi and Netanyahu held their first official meeting in New York in September 2017, when they discussed possible ways to restart the long-stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

–IANS

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