A secret meeting was held last year in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, between Egypt’s Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper, reported Monday that Israeli opposition leader Yitzhak Herzog participated in the April 2016 meeting.
This was the second meeting between Al-Sisi, Netanyahu and Herzog, after their first meeting in Aqaba in February 2016, in the presence of Jordan’s King Abdullah II and former US Secretary of State John Kerry.
The newspaper said that Netanyahu and Herzog traveled secretly to Cairo for meeting Al-Sisi at the presidential palace.
Haaretz noted that Netanyahu, his advisers, Herzog and a security team traveled directly to Cairo at night from a base in central Israel, on-board a private plane, where they were transferred to an Egyptian presidential palace.
Netanyahu, Herzog and Egypt all admitted that they secretly met in Aqaba (February 2016), but this is the first time that a meeting between them in Cairo is unveiled.
Is Al-Sisi’s waiver of Tiran and Sanafir linked with his meetings with Netanyahu?
Egyptians were surprised by the maritime border agreement that was signed during the visit of King Salman to Egypt in April, 2016. The agreement, which transferred the two strategic Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia-was faced by massive rejection from the public opinion in the country.
Al- Sisi met with Netanyahu secretly in February, 2016 in Aqaba with undeclared agenda. Then, in April, the Tiran and Sanafir agreement was unveiled during Saudi King Salman’s visit to Egypt, raising wide-range popular protests by Egyptians of all political trends. Analysts say that Al-Sisi’s waiver of the two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia is, in fact, in favor of Israel, as it leads to the internationalization of the strategic Tiran Strait – which was previously blocked by Egypt in 1967, preventing the passage of Israeli ships. After the Saudi King’s visit to Egypt and the Egyptian government’s decision to transfer the Tiran and Sanafir’s sovereignty to the Kingdom, again Netanyahu met with Al-Sisi secretly, but this time in Cairo, for undeclared talks.
The question now is: Was the waiver of Tiran and Sanafir discussed by Al-Sisi and Netanyahu before and after Salman’s visit to Egypt?