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Netanyahu denies reports of plans for Palestinian state in Gaza, Sinai Peninsula

Feb. 16, 2017 5:32 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 16, 2017 8:44 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denied during a press conference in Washington on Thursday that the Israeli government was discussing the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in Gaza extended into the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt.

On Tuesday, Israeli media reported that Israeli Minister Ayoub Kara said that Netanyahu would discuss such a plan with US President Donald Trump during their meeting on Wednesday.

“Trump and Netanyahu will adopt the plan of Egypt’s (President Abd al-Fattah al-)Sisi. A Palestinian state in Gaza and Sinai. Instead of Judea and Samaria,” Kara reportedly wrote on his Twitter. “This is how we will pave a path to peace, including with the Sunni coalition.”

The minister was referring to a reported 2014 offer from Sisi to transfer part of the Sinai to Gaza to create an independent Palestinian state excluding the West Bank, where Palestinian refugees could be resettled. Reports had said at the time that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had rejected the offer.

However, the Egyptian authorities denied such a deal existed and several sources have claimed that the entire deal was a farce and had not existed in the first place.

Netanyahu said during the press conference that the idea had not been discussed by the Israeli and US leaders and had “no basis of truth,” adding that the Israeli government considered Egypt an important party contributing to strength and stability of the region.

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