Egypt offers to absorb Palestinians. Why did Abbas refuse?

And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction.  And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren. (Genesis 16:11)

When the Egyptian government reached out to Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas recently, one surprising and one predictable thing happened. The tale of this offer and its rejection tells us all we need to know about Palestinian politics and the changing political landscape of the Middle East.

The Palestinian Ma’an News Agency reports that in a speech given to members of his Fatah Party this week, Abbas said that the Egyptian government had made a startling offer to the PA. The Egyptians told Abbas that they were willing to cede a 618-square mile area of the Sinai adjacent to Gaza for resettlement of the Palestinian refugees, an idea first floated by former Israeli National Security Adviser Giora Eiland.

“They [the Egyptians] are prepared to receive all the refugees, [saying] ‘let’s end the refugee story’,” Abbas was quoted by Ma’an news agency as saying.

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