On Sunday, Egypt’s foreign minister, Sameh Shoukry, came to Jerusalem and met with the Israeli prime minister. This was the first such high-level visit in nine years. Usually, talks have been conducted with Egyptian intelligence officials and out of the public eye, and have focused on security issues—specifically, containing jihadists in Gaza and Sinai. This very public visit, argues David Makovsky, is a sign that the two countries’ de-facto military alliance could be mutating into a diplomatic one:
Netanyahu has expressed concern that the Obama administration will consider supporting a UN Security Council resolution [about the Israel-Palestinian] conflict at year’s end. He views any such move as the equivalent of an imposed solution . . . that neither Israel nor the Palestinians could accept. Netanyahu is also concerned that a French peace initiative could gather steam and feed into a [similarly troublesome] Security Council resolution. . . .
Netanyahu is likely counting on the pressure [his meeting with Shoukry] creates for Mahmoud Abbas. While the PA president has had no problem rejecting Netanyahu’s call to resume talks, . . . bringing Egypt into the picture raises the cost of any such rejection. . . .
Beyond the Palestinian issue, . . . Shoukry was probably also curious about Netanyahu’s trip to Africa last week. Among other states, he visited Ethiopia, which is planning a Nile dam that could hurt Egypt’s access to the river’s water. Cairo seems to believe that Netanyahu’s visit could impact whether Ethiopia will agree to a water-sharing formula with Egypt.