Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas gestures during the Palestinian National Council meeting in Ramallah on April 30, 2018. (AFP Photo/Abbas Momani),
CAIRO – 3 May 2018: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that the ousted president Mohamed Morsi had offered the Palestinians a piece of the Sinai Peninsula during his rule.
Abbas’ statements came during a speech he delivered at the National council’s 23rd session held on Monday at the presidential headquarters in Ramallah.
“When the Brotherhood ruled during Morsi’s tenure, we were offered a part of Sinai but we turned down the offer,” Abbas said.
Abbas said that he rejected Morsi’s offer and told him that the Palestinians will not accept such proposals asserting that they will not leave their land and will not live on someone else’s land. “But we considered this issue as a liquidation of the Palestinian cause” Abbas explained continued.
Seemingly, this is not the first time Abbas mentions Morsi’s Sinai offer. He had revealed details of this proposal four years ago in a press conference held in Egypt.
Plans to resettle Palestinians in Egypt had also been reported in 2017 by the UK based media outlet, BBC which alleged that Egypt’s former President Hosni Mubarak allowed the resettlement of Palestinians in Egypt in response to US request in the 1980s.
It was stated in these documents that Mubarak said he would accept the American request only if it came within a proper framework to end the Arab-Israeli conflict. This information was revealed by the former Egyptian president during a meeting with the then-British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1983.
According to BBC, Mubarak’s meeting with Thatcher occurred on his way back to Egypt, after meeting with former American President Ronald Reagan in February 1983, eight months after the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in order to expel Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leadership due to alleged assassination attempt by small Palestinian militant group on Israeli ambassador to London.
In response to the BBC report, Mubarak released a statement denying the claims and asserted deeply his rejection to the resettlement of Palestinians.
Moreover in 2014, Israel media outlets claimed that Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi proposed during his meeting with his Palestinian counterpart to give a piece of the Sinai Peninsula to establish a Palestinian state; Both Palestinian and Egyptian officials denied these claims.
Israel Army Radio reported that Sisi had offered for Abbas, during their meeting Sunday, to establish a Palestinian state on Gaza territories with a 1600 km sq tract of land from neighboring Sinai, which would increase the land of Gaza to fivefold of its current size. In return, the radio reported Abbas would give up the demand of establishing a state with the 1967 borders.
An Egyptian official in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied Monday such reports, saying such reports are “groundless.”
The anonymous official added that proposal had been offered by former president Mohamed Morsi “when he promised the Palestinians to give them a piece of land from Sinai to establish a Palestinian state.”
Palestinian Presidential office general secretary al-Tayyeb Abdel-Rehim denied to Palestinian Ma’an News Agency Monday the Israeli reports.
“The Egyptian and Palestinian leaderships have unified their stance on the establishment of a Palestinian state on the lands occupied in 1967 and Jerusalem as its capital; President Mahmoud Abbas has updated President Sisi on the future vision to reach this goal,” he said.
Abbas paid a three-day visit to Cairo to meet Sisi and attend the 142nd session of the Arab League Foreign Ministerial meeting, and they discussed Sunday the latest developments, stated the Egyptian Presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Badawi Sunday.
Both presidents tackled also the Israeli latest decision of confiscating 900 acres near Gush Etzion, a cluster of Israeli settlements south of Jerusalem.
Sinai, in particular, has been a staging ground for militants operating in Egypt for decades. It is also believed to be home to the Islamic State’s Egyptian branch, which has been primarily targeting Christians and security forces.
The Egyptian Armed Forces launched in February a full-scale military operation titled "Sinai 2018" to confront terrorist elements in Sinai and other areas across the country.