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Goodbye land swaps, hello land grants

By David Singer - posted Wednesday, 17 September 2014


The two-state solution has suddenly come back to life.

Thought dead and buried after Hamas had shown that it could indiscriminately fire rockets from Gaza into Tel Aviv and Jerusalem over a 50 day period – even forcing international carriers to cancel flights into Ben-Gurion International Airport for 24 hours – Caroline Glick reported on its amazing resurrection:

Something extraordinary has happened.

On August 31, PLO chief and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told an audience of Fatah members that Egypt had offered to give the PA some 1,600 kilometers of land in Sinai adjacent to Gaza, thus quintupling the size of the Gaza Strip. Egypt even offered to allow all the so-called "Palestinian refugees" to settle in the expanded Gaza Strip.

Then Abbas told his Fatah followers that he rejected the Egyptian offer.

On Monday Army Radio substantiated Abbas's claim.

According to Army Radio, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi proposed that the Palestinians establish their state in the expanded Gaza Strip and accept limited autonomy over parts of Judea and Samaria.

In exchange for this state, the Palestinians would give up their demand that Israel shrink into the indefensible 1949 armistice lines, surrendering Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. Sisi argued that the land Egypt is offering in Sinai would more than compensate for the territory that Abbas would concede.

In his speech to Fatah members, Abbas said, "They [the Egyptians] are prepared to receive all the refugees, [and are saying] 'Let's end the refugee story.'" "But," he insisted, "It's illogical for the problem to be solved at Egypt's expense. We won't have it.

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Secretary-General of Abbas' office - al-Tayyib Abd al-Rahim - said the reports were "fabricated".

Arutz Sheva reported:

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Monday denied reports that he had offered to establish a Palestinian state in the Sinai Peninsula - the website of Egypt's Al-Ahram newspaper reported.

In a speech to mark national teachers' day and which mostly dealt with education Sisi stressed that no one can make such promises and that there is no room for talk about the matter.

Amidst these claims and denials - the idea of land grants by Egypt - and also Jordan – now remain the last route to peacefully creating the two-state solution so earnestly sought by the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap.

President Obama's policy for bringing such a state to fruition was expressed in his State Department speech on 19 May 2011 – which has now been well and truly trashed as a result of the latest Israel-Hamas War:

We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.

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British Prime Minister David Cameron's remarks at a joint press conference with President Obama in London on 25 May 2011 now sound equally as ludicrous in 2014:

… the Palestinians need to know that we understand their need for dignity and for a Palestinian state, using the '67 borders as land swaps as the start point. That is I think what is so key to the speech that's been made. So neither side now has I believe the excuse to stand aside from talks.

At the time I wrote the following:

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About the Author

David Singer is an Australian Lawyer, a Foundation Member of the International Analyst Network and Convenor of Jordan is Palestine International - an organisation calling for sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza to be allocated between Israel and Jordan as the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine. Previous articles written by him can be found at www.jordanispalestine.blogspot.com.

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