Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will meet next week in Egypt. Topics of discussion will include the threat of Iran, the prospects of a Palestinian-Israeli peace, wider efforts to stabilize the region, and the status of Gilad Shalit, the IDF soldier held captive by Hamas since 2006.
Mubarak and Netanyahu last met in April 1998, but were divided over Israeli security needs and Oslo-era confidence building measures. Egypt’s inability to halt the Hamas arms smuggling tunnels linking Sinai to Gaza has been an area of tension.
Egypt has recently stepped-up its security in the Sinai, however, deploying a large number of police officers and armored vehicles along the border. As one Israeli official noted, the Iranian nuclear threat has “created the possibility of enhanced cooperation.” Last month’s discovery of a Hezbollah cell working to undermine Egyptian security has also created an opportunity for closer Israeli-Egyptian ties.