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August 13, 2018 2:34 pm

Report: Israel’s Netanyahu Held Secret Meeting in May in Cairo With Egypt’s Sisi to Discuss Potential Gaza Deal

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi meet in New York City, Sept. 18, 2017. Photo: Avi Ohayon / GPO.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to Cairo at the end of May for a covert meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Israel’s Channel 10 reported on Monday.

The purpose of the May 22nd meeting, according to Channel 10’s Barak Ravid, was to discuss Egypt’s effort to promote a long-term diplomatic deal that would include a return of the Palestinian Authority to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, a significant easing of the Israeli and Egyptian blockades of Gaza, and a rehabilitation of critical infrastructure in the Strip.

Netanyahu and Sisi also talked about finding a solution to the issue of the bodies of fallen IDF soldiers and the live Israeli civilians held by Hamas in Gaza.

An additional agenda item was the Israeli-Palestinian peace plan the Trump administration hopes to present in the near future.

The prime minister spent only a few hours in Egypt, accompanied by a small team of aides and bodyguards, and returned to Israel late at night, with the trip being kept secret even from most members of Netanyahu’s security cabinet.

This ongoing behind-the-scenes regional diplomacy could explain the relative restraint shown by Netanyahu in recent months amid a series of violent flare-ups on the Israel-Gaza border, Ravid theorized on Twitter.

Netanyahu and Sisi previously met publicly last September on the sidelines of the annual UN General Assembly gathering in New York City.

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