Report: Israel to assist boosting Egypt economy

Israel is reportedly preparing to help with a series of large-scale infrastructure projects in Egypt, designed to boost the country’s economy.

Senior Yediot Ahronot correspondent Alex Fishman says that Israel will help to desalinate Egyptian water, amid concerns over diminishing water levels in the River Nile. According to the report, Israel is also preparing to help Egypt in the fields of solar energy, electricity production, agriculture, irrigation and gas, in addition to helping revive Egypt’s tourism industry.

Fishman says that the potential cooperation is partly a result of increasingly warm relations between Israel’s government and the administration of Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The two are thought to cooperate closely on security matters, with Egypt’s army facing ongoing attacks by Islamist terror groups in the Sinai Peninsula, which borders Israel.

Meanwhile, over the summer, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed an initiative by President al-Sisi to spearhead progress towards peace between Israel and the Palestinians within the context of a wider regional settlement.

However, the report in Yediot Ahronot also suggests that Israel’s willingness to help Egypt’s development also stems from a concern over an impending Egyptian economic crisis. Such a prospect could trigger significant social unrest, with a possible return to the streets of supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is closely allied to Hamas and was overthrown  in 2013.

The report says that such a scenario would be considered to “intimately affect Israel’s security”.

Israel and Egypt signed a peace treaty in 1979, which has held firm ever since. However, economic and other relations were largely cold until al-Sisi assumed power.

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