File Photo: Egypt s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. AFP
In a press conference during his meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi emphasized Egypt's support for the Palestinian cause and firm rejection of any attempts to displace the Palestinian people.
"We reject the displacement of Palestinians from their land," El-Sisi declared, stressing that "The Palestinian cause is the mother of all causes and has a significant impact on security and stability."
He went on to assert that Gaza is currently under Israeli control, and he reaffirmed Egypt's longstanding support for the establishment of a Palestinian state.
The Egyptian leader stated that Egypt had not closed the Rafah border crossing, explaining that Israeli airstrikes on the Palestinian side of the crossing had nonetheless hindered its operation.
He also expressed concerns that the ongoing events in Gaza are an attempt to force Palestinians to seek refuge in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.
If Gazans are displaced to Egypt, then Palestinians in the West Bank could be displaced to Jordan, El-Sisi said.
If there’s a notion of displacing the Palestinian people, El-Sisi suggested instead moving them to the Negev desert in Israel until Israel is able to defeat Hamas and Islamic Jihad, after which Palestinians could return to their homeland.
In a direct and clear statement, the Egyptian leader said that "the displacement to Sinai means transferring the attacks against Israel to Egyptian territories, which threatens the peace between Israel and a country of 105 million people".
“Moving them to Egypt is a military operation that could last years,” El-Sisi reiterated, stressing that Egypt would bear the repercussions if Sinai became a new base of operations against Israel.
In that case, added El-Sisi, Israel would have the right to defend itself and its national security, albeit through attacks on Egyptian land.
"Then, we will bear the responsibility for that in Egypt", said the president.
"The peace we [Egyptians] have worked for would slip from our hands, as would a resolution to the Palestinian issue," he said.
"We are a sovereign state that, in the years since the signing of the peace agreement with Israel, has taken care to maintain this path. We are supportive of other countries joining it as well."
In a show of solidarity, El-Sisi noted that millions of Egyptians are ready to protest any attempts to displace Palestinians from Gaza. "We reject the liquidation of the Palestinian cause and any relocation to Sinai," he emphasized.
German Chancellor Scholz said that Germany supports Egypt's efforts to de-escalate tensions.
He also said that he came to Egypt because of the direct effects it faces from the fallout from the conflict.
"Together with Egypt, we want to alleviate the terrible consequences of war," said Scholz.