Egypt and the Palestinian Authority denied media reports on Monday that President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi had offered a parcel of land in the Sinai for a “Greater Gaza State.”
The proposal was said to include a 990 square-mile area near the Gaza Strip which, if annexed, would make the Palestinian enclave five times its present size.
The new territory would come with strings attached, however: it would be demilitarized and it would absorb Palestinian refugees in any final agreement, Army Radio said.
The Egyptians and Palestinians vehemently denied it on Monday evening. A spokesman for the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said it was “completely baseless and untrue.”
Tayeb Abdel Rahim, a senior aide to Abbas, dismissed it as a “fabrication,” adding that was an old idea that had been proposed by former National Security Council head IDF officer Giora Eiland.
But before the denials were out, several Israeli politicians had rushed to microphones to broadcast their enthusiasm for it.
Science and Technology Minister Yaakov Peri (Yesh Atid), a former Shin Bet chief, called the proposal “worth discussing seriously.” He added: “This could solve problems that weren’t given a response in talks between Israel and the Palestinian so far.”