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Egypt And Jewish Leaders Find Common Ground On Hamas

Keeping up with a tradition set by his predecessor, Egyptian president Abdel Fattah a-Sisi met Monday with Jewish leaders on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

The meeting, according to two participants, was friendly and both sides found a common ground in their wish to curb the activity of Hamas in the Gaza Strip. A-Sisi, according to a participant in the meeting, noted that Hamas is now vulnerable and susceptible to pressure and therefore can be coerced to moderate its activity against Israel. Jewish participants in the meeting, which included also several think tank researchers, raised Israel’s request to have Hamas return the bodies of two Israeli soldiers killed during the 2014 Gaza military operation.

While in past meetings Egyptian leaders had hinted they’d like the American Jewish community to help them reach out to the U.S. administration and make sure Washington eases the pressure on Cairo on issues of human rights and political freedom, in this meeting, the first since Donald Trump took office, the issue did not come up.

Trump has largely agreed to put aside the issue of human rights in Egypt.

Contact Nathan Guttman at guttman@forward.com or on Twitter @nathanguttman

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