Egyptian President Urges International Recognition of Palestinian State

Egypt, together with Qatar and the United States, brokered the current agreement on the four-day truce in Gaza, according to Egyptian President El Sisi, who hopes it will be extended to a permanent ceasefire. On Nov. 24, he met with the Prime Ministers of Spain and Belgium in Cairo, after the two had carried out a mission “on behalf of the European Union” to Israel, Palestine, and the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza.

During a press conference with the two PMs, the Egyptian leader called for a “different approach” to the failed Israel-Palestinian peace process of the last 30 years, one that “involves the international community’s recognition of a Palestinian state and its entry into the United Nations”. He went on to say that “the only solution to the Palestinian issue is the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, within the borders of 4 June (1967), with East Jerusalem as its capital”. The state of Palestine has only observer status in the UN General Assembly, and that, only since November 2012.

Significantly, President El-Sisi said he would be ready to accept a demilitarized Palestinian state, potentially with the presence of international forces — whether from NATO, the United Nations, or American or Arab forces — to guarantee security for both the Palestinian and Israeli states. On the issue of displacement, he was adamant that “We will not permit the displacement of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip. I sensed a genuine and real understanding by the international community on our rejection of the displacement issue.”

The Egyptian President’s statement should be seen as a very serious proposal, given that Egypt has a peace treaty with Israel, will become a member of the BRICS as of Jan.1, and has close relations with the United States, Russia and China.

It is also highly significant that the Egyptian President made his proposal in the presence of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, the current president of the European Council, and of Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, who will take over that presidency in January.

Sanchez told a press conference at Rafah that “We may decide to recognize the State of Palestine, if the European Union does not”. He further urged for an international peace conference that would bring together both Palestinians and Israelis, and that should be built on mutual recognition between the conflicting parties.

De Croo insisted that although Israel has the right to defend itself against terrorism, the military mission it is conducting must respect international law. “The killing of civilians needs to stop now. Way too many people have died. The destruction of Gaza is unacceptable. We cannot accept that a society is being destroyed the way it is being destroyed.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email