Rivlin: Israel still prays our peace will become a warm one

At Egyptian event, Netanyahu says he wants to see a wider peace

Prime minister stresses he has an open mind to Trump peace plan and will examine specific proposals, praises Egypt’s Sissi as a great leader

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the residence of the Egyptian ambassador in Tel Aviv on July 7, 2019 (Kobi Gideon/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the residence of the Egyptian ambassador in Tel Aviv on July 7, 2019 (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated Wednesday that he would keep an open mind to the soon-to-be released Trump peace plan, telling guests at an Egyptian embassy event that he wanted to see a wider peace in the region.

Netanyahu and his wife Sara were attending a reception at the residence of Egyptian Ambassador Khaled Azmi in Tel Aviv marking Egypt’s national day, where he hailed the close cooperation that had developed between Israel and Egypt since the 1979 peace agreement between the two nations.

“We have a commitment to security. We are enjoying the prosperity and the peace between us and we would want to see a more encompassing peace,” he said.

“We are all waiting to see President Trump’s plan and we all need to keep an open heart and mind and examine the specific proposals that will be made,” Netanyahu said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) poses with his wife Sara (L) and Egyptian Ambassador to Israel Khaled Azmi in Tel Aviv on July 7, 2019 (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

In late June, the White House revealed the economic part of its plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which proposes billions of dollars in investments in infrastructure projects in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and neighboring Arab countries.

Days after publicizing the economic part of the plan, the White House also co-sponsored a conference in Bahrain, which focused on it. The Palestinians fiercely opposed the workshop in the Gulf country, arguing any peace effort must address political matters before economic ones.

The US is expected to release the political part of the plan after Israel’s September elections, but US envoy Jason Greenblatt indicated Monday that it could come sooner.

“We haven’t decided when we will release the political vision. We are taking into account the Israeli election to decide whether we should release it before the elections or after, before the government is formed or after,” Greenblatt told the Palestinian daily Al-Ayyam, in an interview published on Monday.

He said that US President Donald Trump will make the decision soon, without providing details.

The administration said it originally planned to release the proposal over the summer, but was forced to push back those plans after Netanyahu called repeat elections in May, having failed to cobble together a coalition.

Elections are scheduled for September 17. Forming a government may take several weeks after that.

While Netanyahu has said he will keep an “open mind” about the US peace proposal,  PA President Mahmoud Abbas has vowed on many occasions to reject the US plan.

Netanyahu, in his speech Wednesday also effusively praised Egyptian leader Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, meets with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, right, in New York on September 19, 2017. (Avi Ohayun)

“In my meetings with President el-Sissi, I was very impressed, not only with his leadership, but also with his intelligence. From him I understood many things about the challenges we face and we spoke about ways to face them in the best possible way,” Netanyahu said, noting the joint threat of terrorism and extremism faced by the countries.

President Reuven Rivlin also spoke at the event, praising Sissi and calling for warmer ties between Egypt and Israel.

“Israel still prays that our peace will become a warm one. We want to know you better so that we can build our economies, share our ancient cultures and create good and safe lives for the peoples of both of our countries,” he said.

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