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Egypt's Foreign Minister to Meet Netanyahu in First Visit to Israel in Nine Years

Arriving on behalf of President Sissi, Sameh Shoukry is expected to discuss with the prime minister ways to advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry will arrive in Israel on Sunday afternoon for a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a senior official in Jerusalem confirmed. This is the first visit in Israel by an Egyptian foreign minister in nine years.
Two weeks ago Shoukry met Palestinian President Abbas in Ramallah.
Shoukry is visiting Jerusalem on behalf of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi, who two months ago called on Israeli political parties to unite around advancing Israeli-Palestinian peace. Sissi also called on Arab states to back such an effort.
Sissi's remarks were part of a move led by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who serves as a personal advisor to Sissi. Blair tried to get both Netanyahu and Opposition leader Isaac Herzog behind a regional diplomatic initiative that would also entail the forming of a national unity government in Israel, which would include Herzog's Zionist Union.
The move failed to pan out after Netanyahu decided to turn down Zionist Union's demands concerning the peace process with the Palestinians during coalition negotiations. Instead, Netanyahu opted for the inclusion of Yisrael Beiteinu in the governing coalition and the appointment of Avigdor Lieberman as defense minister.
Since the coalition was expanded, Netanyahu has several times said he was interested in advancing a regional diplomatic initiative. Netanyahu also brought this up in a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Rome two weeks ago.
Netanyahu has also made it clear to Egypt, through diplomatic channels, that bringing Lieberman into the government did not lessen his commitment to Sissi's initiative and his desire to promote the move.

Barak Ravid
Haaretz Correspondent

read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.729893

Schermata 2016 07 10 alle 09.58.09

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police




The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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