Anger in Egypt after report that Israel is to reopen consulate

Reports that Israel may soon reopen its consulate in Alexandria has caused anger in Egypt’s second city, after the London-based Al-Araby al-Jadeed site said an Israeli consul would soon be named.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry said the report was “premature.”

Al-Araby al-Jadeed said the news came from a source in Alexandria’s security directorate.

The report followed a visit last month by Israel’s ambassador to Egypt, David Govrin, and as Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi has significantly stepped up efforts to broker an Israeli-Palestinian Authority peace accord.

Israel reopened its embassy in Cairo in September 2015 after a four-year closure. In 2011, following the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Israeli diplomats were forced to leave the embassy when protesters stormed the building.

The appointment of Ambassador Govrin was another sign of a warming of ties between Israel and Egypt. Egypt and Israel have been bound by a peace treaty since 1979 but relations have been formally cold over Israel’s policies toward the Palestinian Authority.

In May, President Sisi praised “true and lasting peace” between Egypt and Israel, saying that the signing of a peace accord between the two countries more than 40 years ago “wrote a bright chapter in the region’s history.”