Egypt’s president urges Palestinians to unite, co-exist with Israel

Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, president of Egypt, addresses the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Tuesday. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP)
Updated 20 September 2017

Egypt’s president urges Palestinians to unite, co-exist with Israel

UNITED NATIONS: Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on Tuesday urged Palestinians to unite and “be ready to co-exist” in peace with Israelis, in his address to the United Nations.
Speaking a day after a first meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, El-Sisi said an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal was a “necessary precondition for the entire region” to enjoy stability.
Egypt has been leading mediation efforts between Palestinian arch-rivals Fatah and Hamas as part of a push to return to the forefront of Middle East diplomacy.
Departing from his prepared remarks to the UN General Assembly, El-Sisi said he wanted to “tell the Palestinian people, it is important to unite ... to overcome the differences and to be ready to accept co-existence with the other, with Israelis, in safety and security.”
The Egyptian leader made a similar appeal to Israelis, saying that decades of Israeli-Egyptian peace could be expanded to the Palestinians to “overcome the barrier of hatred forever.”
“We can repeat this experience, this excellent step once again, together with the peace and security of the Palestinian citizens,” he said.
Egypt, which signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, has called for steps to kick-start Israeli-Palestinian talks that have been comatose since 2014.
In his address, Netanyahu said Israel was committed to achieving peace with all Arab countries and with the Palestinians, but he did not elaborate on how this could be achieved.
El-Sisi said “an independent Palestinian state” with east Jerusalem as its capital is “a necessary precondition for the entire region to transit into a new phase of stability and development.”
An Israeli-Palestinian peace deal would eliminate “one of the main excuses” used by terrorists in the region, he argued.
Turning to the United States where President Donald Trump has said he is pushing for negotiations, El-Sisi declared that there was an “opportunity to write a new page in history to achieve peace in this region.”
The meeting between Sissi and Netanyahu in New York on Monday followed a rare phone conversation between Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas of Fatah and Hamas chief Ismail Haniya.
Egypt has been mediating between Abbas’ internationally recognized Palestinian Authority located in the West Bank and Hamas, which has controlled the Gaza Strip since 2007.
After Haniya met Egyptian officials in Cairo last week, Hamas announced it agreed to demands by Fatah to dissolve what is seen as a rival administration in Gaza, while saying it was ready for elections and negotiations to form a unity government.


Former Lebanese minister condemns Hezbollah ‘takeover’

Updated 10 min 4 sec ago

Former Lebanese minister condemns Hezbollah ‘takeover’

  • Marwan Hamade: Now Hezbollah completes its takeover through the new government where we find the fingerprints of the Syrian regime
  • Hamade said that the new government will face the same factional tensions and rivalries as previous leaderships

PARIS: The formation of a Lebanese government headed by Hassan Diab showed that “Hezbollah has completed its takeover of the Lebanese state,” former minister Marwan Hamade told Arab News.

Hamade, a leading member of Lebanon’s Druze, led by Walid Jumblatt, said that Hezbollah regained a parliamentary majority in 2018 thanks to an electoral law designed to benefit the pro-Iranian party.

“Now Hezbollah completes its takeover through the new government where we find the fingerprints of the Syrian regime. The majority of the new ministers in key positions depend either on Hezbollah or on the former security chief, the pro-Syrian Jamil Sayyed, or on Gebran Bassil, their ally,” he said.

Hamade said that the new government will face the same factional tensions and rivalries as previous leaderships, with a pro-Iranian Syrian faction controlling the state along with factions allied to Hezbollah.

The focus will be on Lebanese central bank governor Riad Salame. “They hold him responsible for implementing US sanctions on Hezbollah, and there is a tendency to make him pay and to destroy the financial sector. Lebanon is turning into a battle front in the conflict between the US and Iran,” Hamade said.

Asked about the new foreign minister Nassif Hitti, a former Arab League envoy, Hamade said: “Hitti will be able to do minor things through his personality, but Lebanese policy and diplomacy will not be within his hands — regrettably it will be in Hezbollah’s.”