Egyptian President General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has reportedly offered Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas a Palestinian State in Egypt’s Sinai which would be five times bigger than anything Israel could offer them in negotiations.
The International Business Times reported today that even though he was offered 1,600 square kilometers of the Sinai Peninsula by al-Sisi, Abbas refused, thus proving that the Palestinians he represents are more interested in replacing Israel rather than creating a peaceful state adjacent to their current borders.
As part of the offer to the Palestinians, Abbas would have to relinquish demands that Israel return to the 1967 borders, and would agree that this state would be be totally demilitarized. Also as part of the deal Palestinian cities in Judea and Samaria would become autonomous and continue to be under Palestinian Authority control.
In the meeting between al-Sisi and Abbas, the former is reported to have said to his counterpart, “You are now 80 years old, if you don’t accept this proposal, your successor will.”
Hopefully, Abbas will consider the options and accept the offer, which would finally give the Palestinian people a large and war-free space to build the state they have dreamed of for so long.
Middle East Monitor reported that, according to Israeli radio, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu knows about the offer, and the U.S. has also given their blessing to the initiative.
The Egyptian proposal comes at a time when Abbas is again in conflict with Hamas, despite having agreed to the charade of sharing a so called unity government with it. Abbas was really pressured into the deal with Hamas due to the group’s control of Gaza,
“We cannot continue working with Hamas this way. There are 27 undersecretaries of ministries who are running the Gaza Strip, and the national unity government cannot do anything on the ground. We won’t accept the continuation of the situation with Hamas as it is now and in this shape. There must be one authority and one regime.”
The fact that Palestinian refugees would be resettled in the new and spacious independent state as part of the agreement was even more of a sweetener, but Abbas rejected the offer.
A state, such as the one proposed to the Palestinians, would offer them a much better chance of building a vibrant and peaceful society without fear of being used as human shields by Hamas in the inevitable next Gaza war.
The fact that Mahmoud Abbas made the decision not to accept the offer proves once again the truth of Abba Eban’s oft quoted aphorism about the Palestinians who he accused of “never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”
This missed opportunity is just the latest example of the true face of Palestinian Nationalism.