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Normalization deals create warm environment for Egypt-Israel ties

Relations between Cairo and Jerusalem may be thawing in the wake of Israel's normalization agreements with two Gulf states.
Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz (R), Greece's Energy Minister Kostis Hatzidakis (2nd-R), Egyptian Minister of Petroleum Tarek el-Molla (2nd-L) and Cypriot Energy Minister Yiorgos Lakkotrypis (L) attend the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF), in Cairo, on January 16, 2020. - Israel began pumping natural gas to Egypt for the first time yesterday under a $15 billion, 15-year deal to liquefy it and re-export it to Europe. It is the first time that Egypt, which in 1979 became the first Arab country to si

Fifteen ambassadors presented themselves last week to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. One of them was Israel’s new envoy to the country, Amira Oron. A lot has been written in recent years about the saga surrounding the appointment of Israel’s ambassador to Cairo. For almost two years, the embassy to one of Israel’s most important security partners functioned without a chief. The arrival of Oron is a signal to Cairo that Jerusalem does value the two countries’ bilateral relations.

Oron’s arrival also has another meaning: that security should not the only sphere of cooperation between the two countries. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tried unsuccessfully over the past two years to appoint one of his associates, former Communications Minister Ayoub Kara to the job. With Oron as ambassador, the message is clear: Rather than the security establishment maintaining a cold peace, Israel’s relations with Egypt should include all the traditional aspects of diplomacy, including trade, culture, academia, civil society and science.

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