Egypt appoints first ambassador to Israel in three years

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (L) smiles during a joint news conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri at the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, June 20, 2015, after his meeting with Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to discuss the situation in the Middle East. REUTERS Photo

Egypt appointed its first ambassador to Israel since 2012 on June 21, signaling improving ties between states that both see the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, as a threat.

Former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood recalled Cairo's ambassador to Israel in Nov. 2012 over an Israeli attack that left Hamas's military commander dead and kickstarted weeks of violence. 

"President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi issued a republican decree appointing new diplomats abroad which included ... Ambassador Hazem Khairat ... as Egyptian ambassador to Tel Aviv," state news agency MENA reported on June 21. 

Former army chief el-Sisi was elected president last year after he ousted Morsi in 2013 following mass protests against the latter's rule. He has since presided over a systematic crackdown over Islamists. 

Egyptian courts have declared Hamas, its armed wing Qassam Brigades and the Brotherhood as terrorist organizations, although the ruling against Hamas was reversed in June. 

"We have been informed by the authorities in Egypt that it is dispatching an ambassador to Israel," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday at a joint news conference with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius in Jerusalem. 

Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979.

Continue reading on: