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Netanyahu: I Secretly Met El-Sisi, Abdullah II | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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El-Sisi, Netanyahu, Kerry and Abdullah. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Tel Aviv – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu admitted on Sunday he met secretly a year ago with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Jordan’s King Abdullah II in the Southern Jordanian town of Aqaba.

Israel’s Haaretz daily said on Sunday that the three leaders met in the presence of former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry who pitched a plan that called for Israel to cede land it has occupied since 1967 and allow the creation of a Palestinian state – with Jerusalem as the shared capital of both countries. In return, Israel would get the official recognition from Palestine and other regional powers as a “Jewish state,” the newspaper said.

Haaretz also claimed that Netanyahu rejected Kerry’s offer.

During a cabinet meeting held in Jerusalem on Sunday, Netanyahu responded to a minister who criticized him for not informing the government about the secret meeting. “I do a lot for the peace operation. However, I cannot reveal everything,” Netanyahu said, adding that he was the one to call for the meeting and not Kerry.

Last week, the prime minister visited Washington to meet U.S. President Donald Trump. Netanyahu called the meeting “historic” and one that strengthened the two countries’ longtime alliance.

In Cairo, the Egyptian presidential office issued a statement late Sunday neither denying nor confirming the occurrence of the meeting. The statement referred to the news report, though it did not name Haaretz, as having “incorrect information,” without giving more details.

For their part, political Israeli sources revealed that Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman was informed by Western sources that Lebanon’s “Hezbollah” received strategic weapons, which could change the balance of the naval power in the Middle East.

The sources said that “Hezbollah” was probably capable of smuggling a number of advanced Russian-made anti-ship Yakhont missiles, which represents a serious threat to Israeli interests in the Mediterranean for being considered the best missiles worldwide.

The Yakhont has a range of up to 300 kilometers, allowing “Hezbollah” to have a significant upgrade over the C-802, which can reach up to a distance of 110 kilometers.