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Netanyahu’s diplomatic fallout: Israel faces regional crisis with Egypt, Qatar, Jordan: Report

Sisi ignores calls; Qatar condemns policies; Israel threatens Jordan, says Israeli media

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pushed his government into a regional crisis as evidenced by strained relations with Egypt, Qatar and Jordan.

It is attributed to his policies, which the opposition claims are putting “Israel in danger.”

Netanyahu’s crises with the three regional key countries began to dominate headlines in Israeli media in the last 24 hours.

Egypt

Israeli political analyst Itamar Eichner revealed Wednesday that Netanyahu attempted to call Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, only to be refused.

”Apparently, Netanyahu made the call through the National Security Council, but the Egyptians chose not to accept it,” Eichner wrote in the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper.

Read more: UK Labour party leader criticizes Netanyahu’s rejection of Palestinian state

”The Prime Minister’s office tried to play things down, claiming the call will be made at a later time,” he said. ”The failed phone call attempt by Netanyahu could be related to recent tensions from the Egyptian side, increasingly agitated by Israeli statements regarding the Philadelphia Corridor.”

The Corridor is a narrow strip within the Gaza Strip, extending 14 kilometers (8.7 miles) along the border between the enclave and Egypt.

Under the 1979 Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel, the route is a demilitarized zone that was under Israeli control before Tel Aviv withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005.

Netanyahu repeatedly said in previous weeks that the Corridor area must be under Israel’s control.

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Egypt warned Israel earlier this week that any military takeover of the Corridor would damage relations between Cairo and Tel Aviv.

The Maariv newspaper said Thursday that the war in Gaza poses difficult challenges for Israeli-Egyptian relations.

The challenges are Egypt’s concern about the influx of Palestinians from Gaza into the Sinai Peninsula, delivering humanitarian aid from Egypt to Gaza via the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings and control over the Corridor.

Qatar

A leaked recording of Netanyahu on Wednesday during a meeting with the families of Israeli hostages held in Gaza revealed that he criticized Doha’s mediation efforts between Israel and the Palestinian resistance group, Hamas, aimed at securing the release of the remaining hostages.

Netanyahu’s remarks prompted a sharp response from Doha. Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesman Majed Al-Ansari wrote on X: ”We are appalled by the alleged remarks attributed to the Israeli prime minister in various media reports about Qatar’s mediation role.”

”These remarks, if validated, are irresponsible and destructive to the efforts to save innocent lives, but are not surprising,” he added.

Close associates of Netanyahu attempted to place the responsibility for the leaked recording on the families of the hostages, a claim strongly denied by the families.

“All conversations that take place in meetings with the Prime Minister are recorded by his office and his associates present at the meeting,” Haim Rubinstein, a spokesperson for the families, responded in a statement.

”The families participating in the meeting had their phones taken at the entrance,” said Rubinstein.

The spokesperson termed the leak as a ”grave issue that indicates a loss of control.”

Jordan

Netanyahu’s crisis did not spare the eastern neighbor, Jordan, as Israel said it is considering a decision not to extend a water agreement with Jordan due to Amman’s criticism of the deadly Israeli military offensive against the Gaza Strip, according to Israeli media on Thursday.

”The Energy Ministry is looking into a decision not to extend the water agreement with Jordan over anti-Israel statements from senior Jordanian officials,” said public broadcaster, KAN.

Jordan and Israel have an agreement that sees the Arab nation purchasing 50 million cubic meters of water from Tel Aviv under a 1994 peace agreement.

In 2021, the two countries signed an agreement allowing Amman to purchase an additional 50 million cubic meters of water from Israel in exchange for electricity production from Amman to Tel Aviv.

”A final decision has not yet been taken,” said KAN. ”The issue depends on the development of relations with Jordan and how the Jordanians will express their position on the war in the near future.”

The website, YNET, noted Thursday that Netanyahu is in disagreement with two key mediators, Qatar and Egypt, amid negotiations for the release of Israeli hostages.

It emphasized that relations with Doha and Cairo are of the utmost importance for reaching a deal with Hamas to release the hostages.

Israel has launched a deadly offensive on the Gaza Strip since an Oct. 7 Hamas attack, killing at least 25,700 Palestinians and injuring 63,740 others. Nearly 1,200 Israelis are believed to have been killed in the Hamas attack.

The Israeli war has left 85% of Gaza’s population internally displaced amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while more than half of the enclave’s infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.