Sunday, October 15, 2023

A Guide to Middle East Conflict: Why Egypt Opposes Resettlement or Hosting of Gaza's Palestinians in Sinai

I'm writing this post early on a Saturday morning, feeling truly exhausted, whether from the demands of news coverage or the emotional toll that the news itself takes on a person. "P.S. I am publishing this on Sunday morning; that's how drained I am."

It all started early Friday morning when we awoke to an Israeli ultimatum directed at the Palestinians residing in North Gaza, instructing them to move to the South due to an impending Israeli military operation despite the local and international rejection of such an order.

Rafah crossing from Egypt's side
Rafah crossing from Egypt's side 

Approximately 1.1 million people call North Gaza home. Many made the difficult decision to stay, driven by the desire not to repeat the mistakes of their forebears in 1948. Around 70% of Gaza's residents, particularly in the North, are descendants of Palestinian refugees who were displaced during the Nakba by Zionist terrorist gangs.

Their grandparents were promised they could return to their homes in cities like Yafa soon after defeating the Zionist gangs, but this promise turned out to be empty. Some believe that leaving their homes and land without putting up a fight was not a mistake, but a grave sin.

Now, some of their grandchildren and their families have chosen not to leave their homes in North Gaza and to remain. 

This decision was not influenced by claims that "Hamas stopped them," as falsely stated by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken during his recent Mideast-Arab tour. How do we know this? Well, Palestinians in North Gaza still have access to the internet, and some have shared their last wishes.

While some Palestinians have managed to leave the area, others have embarked on a perilous journey to the unknown, once again becoming refugees in their own land.

Tragically, a convoy of cars carrying North Gaza residents was struck by an Israeli airstrike, resulting in the loss of at least 70 lives and leaving 200 others injured. We have received verified photos and videos, and the scenes are nothing short of horrifying.

Now, everything I mentioned above is directly tied to the central question posed in the title of this post: "Why does Egypt reject the resettlement/displacement/hosting of Palestinian refugees in Sinai as a means to shield them from this military operation? And why do the Palestinians also reject this proposal?"

This post helps clarify the situation. It is your guide. 

Egypt's stance on the mass displacement of Palestinians in Gaza is clear: Official and unofficial Egypt fear that if Palestinians were moved to Sinai, Israel would prevent their return and occupy Gaza as empty territory.

As simple as that.

Enforcing the displacement of Palestinians from Gaza to Egypt and those from the West Bank to Jordan would effectively erase the Palestinian presence from historical Palestine, leading to the disappearance of Palestine itself.

This is why transferring Gaza's Palestinians to Sinai is seen as the liquidation of Palestine and the Palestinians' rights in their homeland.

President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi explicitly said that at the Military Academy on Wednesday, emphasizing the need for Palestinians to remain on their land.

As of Saturday, Egypt had gained significant regional and international support for its position.

Countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, Turkey, Iran, and Russia have all expressed their resolute rejection of the displacement proposals.

However, concerns persist, particularly as reports indicate that Egypt is promised substantial financial incentives to alleviate its severe economic crisis. Additionally, the notable silence of the UAE on this matter is a cause for worry.

Egypt is actively working to provide humanitarian aid, contrary to online claims. Israel has attacked the Rafah border crossing from the Palestinian side with airstrikes. 

It is now also confirmed that Egypt is declining entry to American and foreign nationals, primarily from Europe unless they are accompanied by humanitarian aid and a humanitarian truce for Gaza.

On the other hand, the Palestinians, whether inside or outside Palestine, reject this suggestion. The Palestinian Authority led by President Mahmoud Abbas "who continues as a president despite his term ended ages ago" and Hamas led by Ismail Hania both rejected the suggestion.

The Palestinians are well aware that if Gaza's Palestinians were to move an inch into Egypt, Israel would likely prevent their return, echoing the experiences of their ancestors who were displaced from North Palestine to South Palestine.

This week, I came across a tweet from a Palestinian doctor residing in Europe who pled his aunt in Gaza to temporarily seek refuge in Egypt until the situation calms down. Her response encapsulated the dilemma: "Will they allow me to return again?"

The absence of a definitive answer underscores the complexity of the situation.

Furthermore, the Palestinians realize that such displacement would not offer a solution; instead, it would create more Palestinian refugee camps.

Many are unaware that the Palestinian refugee issue has been the oldest and most unresolved refugee problem globally since World War II.

An Old Suggestion for a Longstanding Issue

Proposing Egypt's Sinai or other countries as an alternative home for Gaza's Palestinians is not a new concept; it's an age-old dilemma. To understand the significance of this, let's delve into history.

First and foremost, Gaza came under Israeli occupation in June 1967, and by the United Nations Security Council's renowned Resolution 242 of 1967, the Israeli army was required to withdraw immediately.

In 1968, the Israeli Foreign Ministry suggested transferring Gaza's Palestinian population to the West Bank and then to Jordan. In the same year, the U.S. Congress also proposed forcibly relocating Gaza's population to various countries, including Western nations, but this suggestion ultimately failed.

In 1970, the Israeli Army developed a plan to encourage Gaza's Palestinians to move to the city of Al-Arish in Egypt's Sinai, which had also been occupied by the Israeli army in June 1967. This plan included offering financial incentives to make the move. Despite being supervised by the late Israeli Prime Minister and war criminal Ariel Sharon, this plan met with no success, as we now know.

In 2000, Israeli Major General Giora Eiland suggested that Egypt allocate about 740 km² of Sinai for the Palestinians of Gaza and the West Bank to inhabit, rather than the Palestinian territories.

In 2004, Israeli geographer and Hebrew University professor Yehoshua Ben-Arieh presented a proposal in his book, 'Trilateral Land Exchange between Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and Egypt: A Solution for Promoting Peace between Israel and the PA,' to permanently resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

According to Ben-Arieh, the proposal involved Egypt ceding parts of Al-Arish in North Sinai to Gaza's Palestinians, with Egypt receiving a portion of the Negev desert in return.

Fast-forward to 2020, and former US President Trump, along with his Zionist aide and son-law Jared Kushner, introduced the controversial 'Deal of the Century.'

This plan, according to their vision, allocated unarmed spaces in Sinai to the Palestinians of Gaza, featuring logistic centres and factories where hundreds of thousands of workers could be employed, not in Palestine but in Egypt's Sinai.

It's worth noting that all of these suggestions were resoundingly rejected by various Egyptian administrations, spanning from the era of Mubarak to that of Sisi.

Back to the Egyptian Mandate

Egypt has historically treated Gaza as part of Palestine rather than as Egyptian territory. This sheds light on why Egypt does not seek to resume its rule over Gaza, as it did from 1949 to 1967.

From May 1948 to July 1952, Gaza was under the jurisdiction of Royal Egypt.

However, King Farouk did not hold the official title of "the ruler of Gaza" during this period. From 1948 to 1951, Farouk's official titles included "King of Egypt, Sovereign of Nubia, Sudan, Kordofan, and Darfur." From October 1951 to July 1952, he held the title of King of Egypt and Sudan.

In theory, Gaza was under the mandate of the Egyptian army, with the King or the President serving as the commander-in-chief. However, it was still treated as part of Palestine rather than Egypt.

Following the Israeli disengagement in August 2005, the suggestion of Egyptian governance was once again raised as a means to curtail attacks by militant resistance groups against Israel. However, the Egyptian administration, under Mubarak's leadership, declined the offer.

There are two perspectives on this complicated issue.

The diplomatic and official standpoint argues that Gaza is a Palestinian territory with its own president and government. Egypt has officially supported the two-state solution, wherein a Palestinian state is established based on the borders of June 4, 1967, with its capital in East Jerusalem.

The second perspective asserts that Egypt is wary of dealing with militias and resistance groups in the region. This concern plays a significant role in their stance.

What happened in Jordan and in Lebanon is a cautionary tale to other Arab governments.

Egypt's constitution, as well as past constitutions, prohibits the presence of militias.

FYI Egypt has historically played a vital role in establishing the Palestinian Liberation Organization, which originally aimed to liberate Palestine from the river to the sea and actually Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood in another historical irony. 

Now regarding the inhuman siege imposed on Gaza, the United States have been putting enormous pressure on Egypt to impose it.

During Mubarak's era, it was an open secret that his administration maintained the tunnels connecting Egypt and Gaza to maintain a balance. “Yes, it turned into a huge business but this is another issue” Mubarak and his military commanders adhered to the principles of the old Egyptian military school.

Gaza in the old Egyptian military’s National security school is one of Egypt’s last defense lines and its buffer zones before Israel.

In recent times, Egypt has been portrayed negatively in the media, with Egyptians unjustly labelled as racists.

This is a stark contrast to the actions of some alt-right European groups who have been openly attacking Jews for years and then turned to be Zionist activists last week.

It's worth noting that these groups are neither willing nor capable of hosting the number of refugees that Egypt is currently sheltering from countries like Sudan, Syria, Yemen, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and others.

Egypt has also had a vibrant Palestinian community since before 1948, consisting of Palestinians who fled their villages due to the actions of the Haganah and other Zionist terrorist gangs. 

These Palestinians were never treated as refugees in camps.

Egypt is the sole neighbouring country that hosts a substantial Palestinian community without resorting to refugee camps. In fact, the majority of our Palestinian community members are not registered with UNRWA. While it's not a flawless situation, it's far more favourable than the conditions in many other Arab countries.

Some estimates indicate that we have around 60,000 -100,000 Palestinian citizens, but I believe the actual number is higher.

As early as 2013, the Sharkia Governorate alone had at least 20,000 Palestinian citizens. Most of their grandparents sought temporary refuge in the Nile Delta governorate due to its proximity to Sinai, but they ended up settling there, much like the people of Fadel Island who arrived from Beersheba.

It is infuriating to encounter individuals who portray Egyptians as the antagonists in this complex conflict.

The antagonists are the racist and fascist cabinet in Jerusalem dragging the whole region to the unknown. 


  1. I believe that the permanent solution to this problem is total eradication of Hamas and Hizbullaah terrorist organisation from the earth.

  2. We have to assume that Hamas foresaw all this. The question is what did they hope to gain by this? What was their plan for “their” civilians, “their” people, “their” children? Do they think Lebanon and Iran will save them? The Arab street? The Qatari’s? The Russians? The Chinese? It’s so easy to destroy but so difficult to build.

  3. Won't anyone give the poor Paleostinians a helping hand? Even you Egyptians don't want to host the Palitroglodytes. Not very neighborly of you. It's so unfair! What did they ever do to deserve such shoddy treatment? I blame the Jews for this mess. No, wait, I mean the Zionists.

  4. Endangered species

  5. Maybe it's a coincidence, but Vanessa Redgraves husband died of AIDS.

  6. I agree with you. But you forgot to mention 1 point. Sinai is not empty. Where are the 500.000 inhabitants supposed to go? And what about the 100.000 displaced lnhabitants of the north who just now want to go back to the lands of their forebears?


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