Sisi vows to fight for Abbas

May 26, 2016  

Unnamed diplomatic sources in Jerusalem were quoted on Thursday night revealing that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is shifting ever closer to the Palestinian Authority (PA) and against Israel – and they blamed Yisrael Beytenu chair Avigdor Liberman for it.

The sources, quoted by Channel 2, pointed to Liberman’s new appointment as Defense Minister as part of his party joining the coalition government as a cause for changing positions in the Nile state, which signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979.

According to the sources, Cairo is currently reviewing its policy in light of Liberman’s appointment due to critical comments he has made in the past against Egypt, such as when he threatened to bomb the Aswan Dam on the Nile River if Egypt joined a war against Israel.

A prime example of this shifting attitude presented in the report was how PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas went to Cairo on Thursday, a day ahead of his meeting with Sisi on Friday.

Before his arrival Abbas was asked by Sisi to bring with him a paper outlining the Palestinian positions ahead of the French peace initiative, which seeks to force peace talks based on the Saudi initiative calling for Israel to make massive concessions in exchange for paper promises by its Arab allies not to attack. Israel has rejected both initiatives.

In asking Abbas to bring the paper, Sisi promised him that he would support the Palestinian positions in the negotiations and press for the PA at the UN, according to the sources.

Despite the sources’ claims, Sisi’s promise to support the PA against Israel in fact predates Liberman’s appointment – two weeks ago on Sunday Sisi hosted Abbas in Cairo and promised to use his influence as chair of the UN Security Council in May to fight for the Palestinians in the French initiative.

Then last week leaders of the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization in Gaza held talks in Cairo with the head of Egypt’s intelligence services, in an Egyptian push led by Sisi to unite the Palestinian factions. The visit came shortly after a Hamas delegation visited Cairo.

Egypt also let cement into Gaza two weeks ago for the first time in months – mere days after Israel exposed Hamas terror attack tunnels breaching under the security border that were constructed with imported cement. Israel, which limited cement imports due to their blatant terror usage, was not consulted in the Egyptian decision that was made with Abbas.

Regarding the source’s claims that Liberman will cause clashes with Israel’s neighbors, it is of note that while the Yisrael Beytenu head is often presented as nationalistic in the press, many of his policies are viewed by many as decidedly leftist.

For example, his party’s campaign in the last elections called to give up the “triangle” region in the north where over 300,000 Arab citizens of Israel live, as part of the creation of a Palestinian state.

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