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Israel Marks 30 Years of Peace with Egypt


Israel marked the 30th anniversary of its historic peace treaty with Egypt on Wednesday, with both sides acknowledging that its goals have yet to be fulfilled.

At a conference in Jerusalem, Egyptian ambassador Yasser Reda indicated the agreement has not been able to bring about comprehensive peace in the region. He said the Palestinian issue is still at the center of the conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

Also commenting on the anniversary, the Israeli ambassador to Egypt, Shalom Cohen, lamented that peace at the official level has not filtered down to the Egyptian people. The relationship has come to be known in Israel as "a cold peace."

Egypt is not even holding any events for the anniversary, while the Israeli foreign ministry is scheduled to host a reception Wednesday night with the Egyptian ambassador among the invited guests.

The Israel-Egypt peace treaty was signed in Washington on March 26, 1979.

The image of Israel's then-prime minister, Menachem Begin, shaking hands on the White House lawn with Anwar Sadat, Egypt's president at the time, raised hopes for the treaty's success.

But relations have cooled substantially between the two neighbors. Israel's government warns tourists not to visit Egypt because of threats by Islamic militants. Business and cultural ties are also minimal.

The Cairo government does, however, serve as an important mediator between Israel and its Arab neighbors. Egypt helped mediate a cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas earlier this year after Israel's deadly offensive in Gaza. But the operation triggered renewed hostility among ordinary Egyptians.

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