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Ehud Barak, former Israeli Prime minister has suggested that an "Arab nation" could administer Gaza after Hamas is taken out
photo by Rhonda Spivak

 
Editor’s Report: Egypt says Palestinan refugees from Gaza should go to the Negev, not the Sinai-Why I believe that Egypt Warned Israel that Hamas Was Planning Big Attack

Scotland has announced it will accept Palestinian refugees from Gaza

October 19, 2023

 

Shortly after Hamas perpetuated its atrocities against the communities near the Gaza border, Egypt indicated that it had warned Israel  3 days beforehand that Hamas was planning a big cross border attack. Netanyahu denied receiving such a warning. The U.S. Foreign Affairs Committee Chair then confirmed that Egypt had indeed warned Israel, but the question was at what level. We may not know this until a much later time, but, if you think about it, it makes sense that Egypt would have issued such a warning, as it could greatly lose as a result of Hamas’s brutal massacre of Israelis.


Cairo has feared that Israel’s  extensive pummelling of Gaza by air which is ongoing at the time of this writing will result in a mass exodus of Gazans into Egypt, specifically into the underpopulated Sinai, which Israel conquered in 1967 and returned to Egypt with the Israel-Egypt peace treaty of 1979. Since Israel has warned Palestinians  in northern Gaza to move to southern Gaza and flee, there has been  a build up of pressure on Egypt to accept them into its territory, in order to save their lives. Egypt has absolutely no desire to take in a large population of impoverished Palestinians, as it fears they will not remain merely on a temporary basis, but on a permanent basis, and could ultimately destabilize Egypt. Israel has agreed to turn on the water in southern Gaza, making it more likely Palestinians will flee to Southern Gaza.

 

On October 18, The Hill  and other media outlets reported that  the Egyptian President said his country will not accept masses of Palestinian refugees from Gaza to enter the Sinai Penninsula. Instead he put the responsibility of the uprooting of Palestinian Gazans on Israel, proposing that Israel move the Palestinians refugees from Gaza to the underpopulated Negev region in Israel until it ends its “announced mission” of destroying Hamas.

 

“We are rejecting the liquidation of the Palestinian cause and the explosion of Palestinians to Sinai,” the Egyptian president said. He also said Sinai would be turned into a launching ground for “terrorist attacks” against Israel,  and then Egypt would be blamed for such attacks.

 

I do not at all see Israel being willing to host Palestinian refugees in the Negev, as Israel reasonbly would be worried that Palestinians from Gaza, or who support Hamas or undercover Hamas fighters would be let into the Negev and could target more innocent Israeli civilians. It is worth noting that there are reports that there were individual Gazans who were not Hamas, who on their own crossed the southern border and took Israeli hostages. If the Palestinan refugees from Gaza are not allowed into  Egypt, it goes without saying that it  will make it much more difficult for  Israel to dismantle Hamas when it will be able to use Palestinian population in Gaza being as human shields.

 

The Times of Israel reported on Oct 18  that thousands protestred in Cairo after Egypt’s President Sissi urges Egyptians to take to the streets in solidarity with the Palestinians during the Israel-Hamas war. The media outlet noted that there is a presidential election coming up in Egypt and Sissi may well recognizes that a more pro-Palestinian stance will help him in the polls.

 

Jordan has said that it rejects any attempts to move Palestinian refugees from Gaza to Egypt, as it fears this could be  a precedent for Israel transferring West Bank Palestinians to Jordan, which would pose an existential threat to Jordan's stability. 

 

The Jerusalem Post reported on Oct 19, that Scotland has announced that it is willing to take on Palestinian refugees from  Gaza, says First Minister Humza Yousaf, who personally has relatives in Gaza, who have little food and water.  

 

Egypt has demanded that Israel “provide safe passage for civilians in Gaza,” Egyptian and Israeli security sources reportedly told Reuters on October 11. Egypt has also apparently taken steps to prevent  Palestinians from entry into Sinai, by sending troops to patrol Egypt’s shared border with Gaza.

 

Egyptian President Sisi has been calling extensively for Israel to allow for the immediate delivery of humanitarian aid to Palestinians. I had read a  report that Egypt and Qatar, a backer of Hamas, potentially could end up having to building a tent city for fleeing Palestinians in  the former Israeli city of Yamit in the Sinai, but it appears that Egyptian President Sisi  has pushed back and will not allow Palestinians from Gaza to enter Egypt. 

 

Egyptian was alarmed on October 10  when Richard Hecht, the IDF international spokesperson,  called on  Gazans to flee the violence by heading to Egypt via the Rafah crossing.  “The Rafah crossing is still open,” he said. The Israeli military however quickly revised the statement saying that the Rafah crossing was closed. Realistically,the only place that Gazan Palestinians  wanting to flee the conflict could possibly go to is Egypt.

 

If Egypt refuses to allow Gazan Palestinians into Sinai, might it be blamed for allowing the killing of innocent Palestinian civilians attempting to flee Gaza? That seems unlikely, as the inflamed Arab street will blame Israel.

 

Hamas has tried to prevent Palestinians from fleeing south by blocking roads, in an attempt to ensure that civilian casualties mount, and Israel is blamed, and that it doesn’t lose control of Gaza. As of Oct 15, Israel has agreed to turn on the water in southern Egypt, making it more likely Palestinians will flee to Southern Gaza, against Hamas's orders. 

 

Two Israeli analysts,Yaaron Avraham and Amit Segel from Israel's Channel 12 television reported October 15 that behind the scenes the Biden adminsitration was pressuring Egypt to take in Palestinian refugees fleeing Gaza in  exchange for economic, civilian and military assistance. But on the same day US Secretary of State  said that the Biden administration does not support proposals to mass-relocate Palestinians outside of Gaza, to the Sinai, for example. He also said that he wanted to ensure Palestinians in Gaza "are out of harm's way and geting the assistance they need."

 

Biden only spoke to the aging leader of the  Palestinan Authority Mahmoud Abbas for the first time on October 14, which tells me it is unlikely that the Abbas, who is unpopular in the West Bank and viewed as corrupt and who has not specifically denounced Hamas's atrocities which set off this war, will be viewed as a possible future ruler of Gaza. Yet, you never know for sure.  Yair Lapid, Leader of the Opposition has said Oct 19 that  he belives the best option is to have Gaza  run by the Palestinian Authority.

 

Sisi has said that Israel's response in Gaza has gone beyond the right of self defense.

 

It also should be remembered that Egypt administered the densely populated Gaza Strip from 1948 until 1967. There are certainly questions about who would rule/administer Gaza should Israel dismantle Hamas as it has declared it will do, something that  Defense Minister Gallant has said on Oct 18, will take many months. Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak who did try to reach a two-state scenario with the P.LO.’s Arafat when he was in power, indicated in a recent interview with  CNBC’s “Squawk Box”  that once Hamas was defeated perhaps an “Arab nation” could rule Gaza temporarily. I can’t help but think he was referring to Egypt.  Egypt may be reluctant to do so, yet, the United States could certainly apply pressure on it in this regard, although it may choose not to.

 

Many Israeli analysts also say that Israel will insist on a no-mans land between its southern border and Gaza, to prevent the kind of attack it has sustained inside its border.

 

It remains to be seen what will happen to the Palestinain refugees who have fled southern Gaza,and should Israel be able to dismantle Hamas,whether and to what extent Egypt will be involved in administering Gaza, even a temporary basis.

Egypt says that Palestinian Refugees from Gaza should not go to the Sinai, but to the Negev

 

 
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.


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