World Bulletin / News Desk
Egypt has denied reports by Israeli media that Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi had offered Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas an independent Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip and part of Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.
A statement issued by Egypt's Foreign Ministry slammed recent reports to this effect – broadcast by Israeli army radio and Israel's Channel 7 – as "fabrications and lies."
Al-Sisi himself personally denied the Israeli reports.
"No one can do that [cede parts of the Sinai Peninsula for a Palestinian state]," he was quoted by Egypt's official MENA news agency as saying.
The Palestinian presidency likewise denied that Abbas had ever received such a proposal from al-Sisi.
"The Egyptian president has not proposed… such a plan, which would meet with rejection on the part of Palestinians and Egyptians," presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeinah said in a statement.
"We will not accept any offer that doesn't meet the aspirations of the Palestinian people, who demand freedom, independence and an independent state on the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital," he added.
According to Israeli media reports, al-Sisi proposed the establishment of an independent Palestinian state to include 1,600 square kilometers of Egyptian Sinai.
Under the terms of the alleged initiative, the PA would be granted full autonomy in Palestinian towns and villages in the West Bank, in return for which Abbas would give up Palestinian demands for a return to 1967 borders.
Israeli broadcasters also reported that al-Sisi had told Abbas that – given the latter's almost 80 years of age – his successors would accept the offer if he did not.
Abbas nevertheless turned down the proposal, according to reports on Israeli army radio.
The proposal had already received the green light from Washington, the broadcaster went on, noting that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, too, had been informed of the plan.
The roots of the Israel-Palestine conflict date back to 1917, when the British government, in the now-famous "Balfour Declaration," called for "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people."
In 1948, some 700,000 Palestinians fled their homes – or were forcibly expelled by Jewish forces – after the creation of the new state of Israel, while hundreds of Palestinian villages and towns were razed to the ground.
Israel then occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state – a move never recognized by the international community.
Palestinians, for their part, continue to demand the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, with East Jerusalem – currently occupied by Israel – as its capital.Last Mod: 08 Eylül 2014, 17:11