Sisi weary of backlash over planned Netanyahu visit: source

Sisi weary of backlash over planned Netanyahu visit: source
As Netanyahu is reportedly set to embark on official visit to Egypt, but sources said Egyptian President Sisi and Israeli premier Netanyahu have failed to agree on the visit's circumstances.
2 min read
01 December, 2020
Sisi is allegedly weary of publicising a planned meeting with Netanyahu [Getty]
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi is hesitant to announce an planned official visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, fearing an angry public backlash, according to sources.

A diplomatic source told the Arabic-language sister publication of The New Arab that Cairo has deliberately refrained from confirming or denying news of Netanyahu's planned visit to Egypt, which has been widely reported by other Israeli media outlets.

The meeting between the two leaders was scheduled a few weeks ago, but said there had been "disagreements about it between Sisi and Netanyahu and their agencies over the possibility of its official announcement".

The source said that Sisi's fears about the Netanyahu visit stem from the recent public backlash against Egyptian singer Mohamed Ramadan, after he was seen posing with an Israeli singer in a photo.

Sisi could potentially trigger a similar response if he goes public with the meeting. "It will have a high cost," the source said.

The announcement of the visit will bear an important symbolic stamp for the Israelis, after years of unannounced meetings

While Egypt already has diplomatic relations with Israel, US-brokered normalisation deals between Israel and Arab states have led to uproar in the Arab world.

The deals - led by the United Arab Emirates before Bahrain and Sudan then followed - have been rejected by Palestinians, who consider it a "betrayal" of their cause.

Netanyahu is believed to hold regular closed-door meetings with Egyptian officials.

In September 2017, Netanyahu and Sisi met publicly for the first time in a brief exchange in New York. At the time, only the Egyptian flag was placed behind the two leaders. 

This time, Israeli reports cited political sources saying Netanyahu intends to have a public visit to Cairo, where the leaders will reportedly focus on "economic issues".

"The Muslim Brotherhood is a missionary group … including a large number of scholars, preachers and Mujahideen have joined the effort to defend the doctrine of Islam and its Sharia," the associations said.

Talat Fehmi, a spokesperson for the Muslim Brotherhood, told Anadolu Agency that the organisation denies all accusations made by the council.

Read also: Islamic scholars call on Saudi council to review Muslim Brotherhood 'terrorist' designation

"The Brotherhood... is far from violence, terror and tearing apart the ummah. Since its establishment, it has been calling people to Allah with good advice," Fehmi said.

The Muslim Brotherhood was blacklisted by Egyptian authorities in 2013 after the ouster of Mohamed Morsi - Egypt's first democratically elected president - in a military coup led by current President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.

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