Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has hailed warming ties with Egypt and its president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi who ousted the Arab country’s first democratically-elected president, Mohamed Morsi, in 2004.
Netanyhau made the remarks during an event at the Egyptian ambassador’s residence in Tel Aviv on Thursday.
“I want to thank President el-Sisi for his leadership and for his efforts to advance peace between Israel and the Palestinians and in the broader Middle East,” he said.
Netanyahu also hailed the Egypt-Israel peace treaty of 1979 — the first between an Arab state and Israel at the time — calling it an “anchor of stability and security in our region.”
Relations between Egypt and Israel have been growing since Sisi took power in the Arab country in 2014, months after he spearheaded a coup that overthrew Morsi.
Morsi had been elected president after a 2011 revolution that toppled long-time dictator Hosni Mubarak, whose regime had had relations with Israel ever since the 1979 peace deal.
Under Morsi, ties with the Israeli regime worsened. He recalled Cairo’s previous ambassador to Israel in November 2012.
Sisi, however, resent an ambassador to Tel Aviv in January. The Israeli regime also opened its embassy in Cairo in September 2015 after a four-year closure.
In his Thursday remarks, Netanyahu said, “We welcome the effort to incorporate other Arab states in this larger effort of a broader peace between all the people of the Middle East.”
Most Arab governments have no diplomatic relations with Israel. Even so, reports have indicated that several of them, including Saudi Arabia, have had secret relations with Tel Aviv.
Back in May, Israeli newspaper Arutz Sheva reported that Saudi Arabia and its allies, namely Jordan and Egypt — the only two Arab states with open ties with Israel — had been sending messages to Israel through various emissaries, including former British PM Tony Blair.
They had asked Tel Aviv to resume negotiations under a Saudi proposal to have ties between Arab countries and the Israeli regime restored.
The proposal was unveiled in 2002, offering normalized ties with Israel by 22 Arab countries.