'Resettling of Palestinians' in Sinai has never been on the table: Egypt's presidency

Ahram Online , Thursday 23 Feb 2017

For the second time in days, Egyptian officials slam media reports that Cairo was part to any discussion on 'resettling Palestinians' on sovereign Egyptian land, insisting Egypt supports a two-state solution along 67 borders

Alaa Youssef
Presidential spokesperson Alaa Youssef (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Egyptian presidency spokesman Alaa Youssef said on Thursday that the question of any 'resettling of Palestinians' in Egypt's Sinai has never been on the table in discussions between Egypt and any Arab or international officials.

"It is unthinkable to believe that such an unrealistic and unacceptable notion was discussed, especially given that Sinai is an honorable part of the country, and continues to witness sacrifices by the sons of Egypt," Youssef said in a statement today.

Last week, Israeli minister Ayoum Kara claimed one day before Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu's meeting with US president Donald Trump that the two leaders would discuss a plan allegedly proposed by Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi in 2015 to establish a Palestinian state in Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula, excluding the West Bank. an idea rejected by the international community.

This week, Netanyahu dismissed Kara's claims that he discussed the establishment a Palestinian state in Sinai during his meeting with Trump.

Thursday's statement by Youssef is the second official Egyptian denial of reports coming out of Israel on a resettlement proposal.

Last week, Egypt's foreign ministry dismissed Kara's allegations, stressing that Sinai is an Egyptian sovereign territory.

Youssef stressed the importance of not giving credence to such "unfounded rumours," adding that those behind these rumours aim to sow dissent, create confusion and shake confidence in the state.

Youssef's statement was made shortly following a meeting between El-Sisi and several senior government officials, including Defence Minister Sedki Sobhi and Interior Minister Magdy Abdel-Ghaffar, to discuss the security conditions and arrangements in the country.

It is unclear whether the Palestinian issue was discussed during the meeting.

Last week, a lawsuit was filed by Egyptian human rights lawyer Khaled Ali and others in front of an administrative court calling for the banning of any “foreign settlements” in Sinai.

According to the lawyers, the lawsuit aims to preemptively block any potential attempt to settle Palestinians in Sinai.

Egypt has consistently maintained its support for a two-state solution for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict along the 1967 borders.

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