Erdan Praises 'Innovative' Offer for Palestinian State

Alleged proposal by Egyptian President Sisi for Palestinian state in the Sinai desert has strategic importance, Minister says.

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Netanel Katz and Ari Soffer,

Communications Minister Gilad Erdan
Communications Minister Gilad Erdan
Flash 90

Minister of Communications Gilad Erdan (Likud) said an alleged proposal by Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi to establish a Palestinian Arab state in Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula, was an example of the type of "innovative" solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict that has been sorely lacking until now.

Speaking at an Institute for Counter-Terrorism conference in the Israeli coastal city of Herzliya, Erdan shared his thoughts on the current instability in the Middle East, and its impact on Israel's security. Among other things, he emphasized the dangers of territorial concessions.

"Every place where the State of Israel left was seized by terror(ists). Every place that we evacuated drew more terrorism against the State of Israel."

"Territory still has strategic importance," he added, refuting voices on the Left who have repeatedly claimed Israel's security will still be fully guaranteed through technical military solutions if it cedes territory. "Leaving territory breeds more difficult conditions to defend Israel's borders."

Erdan called for a paradigm shift in approaching the conflict, away from the "Oslo" model of a "2-state solution".

"To continue talking about Palestinian statehood with the same determination and the same confidence as 15, 20 years ago is irresponsible," he said, calling for a fundamental change in the mode of thinking which surrounds the conflict, "and not to remain with the same ideas" which have failed in the past.

He said that in his view there was no "sustainable solution" to the conflict with the Palestinians based on establishing a Palestinian Arab state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, and expelling hundreds of thousands of Jews who live in Judea-Samaria.

"And that's without talking about the historic rights" of the Jewish people to those lands, he added.

"The initiative of al-Sisi is an example of an innovative solution, which we must all examine," he continued, labeling it "a generous offer" which would grant the Palestinians territory five times the size of the Gaza Strip.

Erdan is the latest senior Israeli politician to come out in support of the initiative.

Jewish Home party chairwoman Ayelet Shaked aired similar statements earlier Monday, and said the Israeli Left could learn a lot from Sisi's proposal.

"If the report is indeed correct, the president of Egypt has managed to understand what the Left in Israel has refused to understand for decades," she said.

Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) also referred to the alleged proposal in even more glowing terms.

For his part, however, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas has rejected the reports as "fabricated".

"This news is completely false and the proposal is an old one suggested by former head of the Israeli National Security Council Giora Eiland, who suggested to establish a Palestinian state in Gaza and parts of Sinai with autonomy in the West Bank," Al-Tayyib Abd Al-Rahim, Secretary-General of Abbas's office, told the Palestinian Arab Ma'an News Agency.








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