President Hosni Mubarak is due to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss direct peace talks with Palestinians tomorrow.
Netanyahu said, during a cabinet meeting, that it would be the leaders’ fifth meeting in the space of a year.
According to the Jerusalem Post, Netanyahu plans to ask for Mubarak’s help in moving to direct peace talks with the Palestinian Authority. He will also brief Mubarak about his discussions with Obama in Washington and about changes in Israel’s policy concerning the blockade of Gaza.
According to the newspaper, an Israeli official said the sense in Jerusalem is that direct talks are “very close,” but he refused to give a timetable.
An Egyptian diplomatic source told Al-Masry Al-Youm that Egypt has no objection to moving to direct negotiations: “This depends on Palestinians’ desire to negotiate with Israelis, directly or indirectly.”
While in Washington, Netanyahu vowed to take “concrete steps” within weeks to convince Palestinians on raising the level of peace talks. Palestinians are waiting to see the results of these steps before accepting direct talks.
Meanwhile, the Federation of Arab Journalists expressed astonishment at reports that Hamas has, “without objective justification,” stopped Palestinian newspapers from being allowed into Gaza from Ramallah.
Translated from the Arabic Edition.