Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin NetanyahuCourtesy

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in the days after Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel, asked US President Joe Biden to pressure Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to open his country’s borders and take in a large number of the civilian population in Gaza, The Washington Post reported on Thursday.

According to the report, Biden told Netanyahu the idea was a non-starter because the Egyptian government has made clear it has no interest in accepting Palestinian Arab refugees.

The Washington Post further reported that Netanyahu made a similar ask of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and French President Emmanuel Macron during their respective visits to Israel.

However, three diplomats and one senior administration official who were quoted in the report said that both leaders refused the proposal out of hand.

The diplomats said that Israeli officials continue to express dismay that the Egypt option hasn’t been accepted in Cairo or Western capitals.

Despite Netanyahu’s urging, his plan of relocating the population of Gaza was always a long shot, said Middle Eastern diplomats, partly because it would be a major human rights violation and partly because Egypt has no interest in accepting large numbers of destitute Palestinian Arabs.

An Israeli official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said in response to the report that “the assertion that Israel is trying to push Gazans out and into Egypt is false.”