Egyptian President Rejects US-Israeli Proposal for Gaza Refuge in Sinai
Share this:

By Smartencyclopedia with agencies

Cairo, Egypt – October 19, 2023

In a surprising move, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has turned down a joint US-Israeli proposal to offer temporary refuge to Gazans in North Sinai, citing strained relations with both the United States and Israel. Despite a recent humanitarian assistance agreement, the Egyptian leader expressed reservations about the proposal, highlighting concerns over the displacement of Palestinians from their homeland and the potential for a protracted military operation.

The rejection of this proposal, intended to provide shelter to Palestinian civilians fleeing the Israel-Hamas conflict, comes in the midst of escalating tensions in the region. While US President Joe Biden had secured an agreement with Egypt and Israel to initiate humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, Egypt’s decision to decline the refuge option has cast a shadow on these efforts.

President El-Sisi underscored his commitment to peace and the need for a resolution to the Palestinian issue during a press conference in Cairo. He stated, “We reject the displacement of Palestinians from their land. Moving them to Egypt is a military operation that could last years. The peace we [Egyptians] have worked for would slip from our hands, as would a resolution to the Palestinian issue.” El-Sisi’s strong stance against accommodating Israel’s plan to separate Hamas from the civilian population on Egyptian territory coincides with his campaign for a third term in office.

In an unexpected turn of events, a planned four-way summit involving President El-Sisi, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, Jordan’s King Abdullah II, and President Biden in Amman was canceled following an explosion at Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City.

The current situation differs significantly from previous instances of limited clashes between Hamas and Israel, where Egypt played a pivotal role as a mediator and facilitator in de-escalation and ceasefire efforts. Israel now seeks a different role for Egypt, leading to apprehensions about the direction of the relationship between the two nations.

Said Sadek, a professor of peace studies at Egypt-Japan University in Alexandria, commented on this change, saying, “This is completely unlike previous situations with limited Hamas and Israel clashes and when no one in the Israeli forces ever suggested they were going to deport up to 2 million Palestinians from Gaza into Sinai.”

Additionally, Egyptians are concerned about the potential repercussions of hosting displaced Gazans. Economic challenges, including a sharp devaluation of the Egyptian pound and high inflation, coupled with security risks, have heightened fears within the country. There is a reluctance to take on the responsibility of accommodating Gazans who may be aggrieved and potentially pose security threats in Sinai.

The situation is further complicated by the Gulf-centric Abraham Accords and Israel’s apparent disregard for Arab sensitivities, which have diminished Egypt’s motivation to support a plan that allows a massive influx of Palestinian refugees.

Mada Masr, a well-sourced independent Egyptian news portal, reported on October 11 that Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia had sidelined Egypt in talks concerning Palestinian matters, while Israelis and Americans took part. This development has raised concerns about Egypt’s diminishing role as a mediator in the region.

As tensions in the Israel-Hamas conflict continue to escalate, the region is faced with complex diplomatic challenges. Egypt’s decision to decline the US-Israeli proposal for refuge in Sinai underscores the shifting dynamics in the Middle East and the challenges faced by all parties involved in finding a solution to the ongoing conflict.

Share this:
All comments.