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Why Egypt is suddenly so interested in Israel-Palestine conflict

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry's recent visit to Israel has sparked controversy and raised questions as to why Egypt is trying to resolve the Palestinian cause while drawing closer to Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) gives a joint statement with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry prior to their meeting at his Jerusalem office on July 10, 2016.
Shoukry met Netanyahu in Jerusalem for talks on reviving peace efforts with the Palestinians, in the first such visit in nearly a decade and the latest sign of warming ties.

 / AFP / GALI TIBBON        (Photo credit should read GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images)
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On July 10, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry visited Israel in the first trip of its kind since 2007. This visit came as part of a broader vision announced by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in a speech he gave during the opening of the new Assiut power station May 17. In his speech, Sisi declared his intent to bring about a just and comprehensive peace between the Israeli and Palestinian sides, and put an end to the conflict that has raged for over half a century. He linked a “warmer peace” between Egypt and Israel to a peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians being reached. This followed Shoukry’s visit to Ramallah on June 29, where he met with Palestinian leaders.

The Egyptian foreign minister’s visit to Israel sparked anger at the popular level for two reasons. First, the joint news conference between Shoukry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was held in Jerusalem, not Tel Aviv, and Shoukry was hosted for dinner that night in Jerusalem. This carried an implicit Egyptian recognition of Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem as well as its status as the capital of Israel. Second, the visit was accompanied by the image of Shoukry and Netanyahu watching the final game of the 2016 Euro Cup together in the Israeli prime minister’s residence. Netanyahu posted the photo to his Twitter account, commenting, “Tonight Sara [Netanyahu’s wife] & I hosted Egyptian FM Sameh Shoukry in our Jerusalem home. We made time to watch the #Euro2016Final.”

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