Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
(photo credit: KOBY GIDEON/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday praised Egyptian President Abdul Fatah al-Sisi for calling to expand Egypt's peace with Israel to include more Arab countries.
In a statement released from his office hours before the Succot holiday was scheduled to set in, Netanyahu also called on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to return to the negotiating table.
"Prime Minister Netanyahu calls once again on the Palestinian Authority president, Abu Mazen (Abbas), to return immediately to the negotiating table in order to make progress in the diplomatic process."
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid also praised Sisi's comments, made in an interview with the Associated Press released Sunday, saying that they prove there is a chance to pursue a regional agreement.
"I praise the comments made today by the Egyptian president," Lapid said. Sisi's comments prove that there exists today an opportunity to advance a regional agreement with moderate Arab states," Lapid said.
"Our common interests in the region, in the war on terror, create a chance to advance a regional accord, as I presented in my Bar Ilan speech
last week," he added, in reference to a speech in which he said that Israel should use the 2002 Saudi Peace Initiative as a template for a wider peace agreement with the Arab world.
"Real leadership needs to take advantage of strategic opportunities that can strengthen the security of Israel. An agreement such as this will enable us to form an axis of moderate states against Iran and against growing terror in the Middle East, will preserve the security interests of Israel and will allow the continuance of Israel as a Jewish state," Lapid said.
Immediately after the holiday, Lapid is traveling to the United States where he will present his diplomatic initiative for a regional accord to US administration officials and American lawmakers, his office said.
Netanyahu, as well, will soon be leaving for the US to address the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York. Abbas will be in New York as well, but there are no plans for the leaders to meet. The Palestinian Authority president has promised to drop a "bombshell"
during his speech to the UN.