Sinai area
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Former Israeli ambassador to Egypt, Tzvi Mazel, tells Arutz Sheva that the reports regarding an Egyptian offer to Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas, to enlarge Gaza by adding territory to it from the Sinai Peninsula, are a hoax.

"I find it hard to believe that an offer like that was made by the Egyptian president,” explained Mazel, who is currently a researcher at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. “It does not fit in with the Egyptian ethos, that every square centimeter of land is sacred and must not be turned over to any foreigner.”

"When we gave Sinai back to the Egyptians,” he added, “we tried to hold on to Taba, but the Egyptians fought for it with all their might and we gave back Taba as well, in the end.”

On Monday, Army Radio reported that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had offered Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to cede to the PA 160 square kilometers of the Sinai Peninsula adjoining Gaza, thus creating a Palestinian state five times the present size of Gaza.

In return, the PA would stop demanding that Israel return to the indefensible pre-1967 borders. The Egyptian president also reportedly suggested that Palestinian "refugees" be allowed to settle in the new, much enlarged Gaza, which would be demilitarized.

Mazel estimated that the leak is an attempt to create the illusion of a new diplomatic impetus. “In principle, this is an offer that is divorced from reality,” he explained. “If they had wanted to take in the Palestinian refugees, they would have done so a long time ago. No one wants them; they have brought Egypt enough trouble. Placing a Palestinian element that is partly Hamas inside the Sinai – this will only bring them trouble.”

"We have not yet reached the end of days,” Mazel added, referring to Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz's glowing description of the alleged offer. “The Egyptians have a 3,000-year history. They fought to the death for these territories and they will not now give them to the Palestinians, who have already pushed them into five wars against Israel and the destruction of their economy.”

Al-Sisi for his part on Monday denied the 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.

Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's office also wasted no time on Monday denying the reportsAl-Tayyib Abd Al-Rahim, Secretary-General of Abbas's office, told the Palestinian Arab Ma'an News Agency that the reports were "fabricated."

Al-Rahim added that Abbas would not accept any alternative to a "Palestinian state" on the 1949 Armistice lines with eastern Jerusalem as its capital.

"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-Rahim said.