Moves by Israel’s new hardline government over the past week have reportedly complicated Jerusalem’s ties with Cairo, specifically Egypt’s efforts to mediate a potential prisoner swap deal with the Hamas terror group which is holding two Israeli captives and the remains of two IDF soldiers in the Gaza Strip, a report says.
The Arabic-language, London-based newspaper Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, or The New Arab, cites Arab diplomatic sources with knowledge of the matter saying anger over the decision to impose a host of new sanctions on the Palestinian leadership, as well as far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir’s visit to the flashpoint Temple Mount holy site in Jerusalem, “have made it difficult for Egypt to mediate.”
The sources say that the failure to make recent progress toward a deal “is a strong indication that Egypt’s mediation efforts have been affected by the formation of the most extremist government in Israel’s history.”
The report says there is “resentment” and “embarrassment” in the office of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi due to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to allow Ben Gvir to enter the Temple Mount, days after Sissi spoke with Netanyahu on the phone, congratulated him on returning as premier and pressed him to prevent Ben Gvir from visiting the site.
The report says Netanyahu had promised during the call to “maintain the calm” and to prevent Ben Gvir’s visit. After Egypt expressed its discontent with the fact that the visit ultimately went ahead, Israel reportedly said this was due to considerations of preserving the coalition, and that Netanyahu remains committed to maintaining its close ties with the Egyptian leadership.