The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has pointed to the rejection by Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas of an offer by Egyptian President Abdul Fatah al-Sisi’s government of the creation of a Palestinian state in a large tract of land in the Sinai Peninsula to be annexed to the Gaza Strip is a clear sign that Mahmoud Abbas and the PA are clearly not interested in Palestinian Arab statehood, only with eventually eliminating Israel.
Speaking to a gathering of his Fatah party in Ramallah Sunday, Abbas said that an unnamed senior Egyptian official recently approached him and suggested settling Palestinians in an area 618 square miles adjacent to Gaza, reviving an idea originally proposed by former Israeli national security adviser Giora Eiland.
Abbas said, “They [the Egyptians] are prepared to receive all the refugees, [saying] ‘let’s end the refugee story’ … A senior leader in Egypt said: ‘a refuge must be found for the Palestinians and we have all this open land.’ This was said to me personally. But it’s illogical for the problem to be solved at Egypt’s expense. We won’t have it.” This was not the first time Abbas rejected an offer to solve the plight of Palestinian refugees living outside the West Bank. In January 2013, the Palestinian leader told an Egyptian newspaper that he had requested the Israeli government to allow refugees in Syria to enter the West Bank and Gaza. According to Abbas, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanded that the refugees waive their “right of return” to Israel proper as a condition for crossing the border, a condition Abbas rejected out of hand. (Elhanan Miller, ‘Abbas rejects Egyptian offer to settle refugees in Sinai,’ Times of Israel, September 3, 201$).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “This new and extraordinary offer by Egypt of Palestinian statehood in a large chunk of Sinai, conjoined with Gaza, and its summary rejection by Mahmoud Abbas, is a telling indication of the fact that the PA is not interested in statehood unless it encompasses Israel’s eventual elimination.
“It is also noteworthy that Mahmoud Abbas referred to fact that Egypt had proposed, as the Palestinian Arabs rejected, as long ago as 1956 a similar proposal for Palestinian statehood. If Palestinian Arabs had really been interested in peace and statehood, a Palestinian state in Sinai and Gaza could have already existed for 58 years.
“The ongoing Palestinian Arab war with Israel is not about solving Palestinian Arab problems, Palestinian Arabs enjoying sovereignty or statehood, Palestinian Arab refugees and their descendants –– it’s about ending Israel, as it has always been.”