December 20, 2012 Special Dispatch No. 5100

Saudi Columnist: The Time Has Come To Annex Gaza To Egypt

December 20, 2012
Saudi Arabia, Palestinians | Special Dispatch No. 5100

In an article published in the official Saudi daily Al-Sharq, columnist Ibrahim Aal Majari called to annex Gaza to Egypt, as it was between 1948 and 1967 before being captured by Israel. According to Majari, the annexation would protect residents of Gaza from Israel and alleviate Egyptian-Israeli tensions arising from the conflict between Israel and Hamas.[1]

The following are excerpts from his article: [2]

Ibrahim Aal Majari

"First, we congratulate the residents of Gaza for their victory, and we thank them for their persistent [stand] against this oppressive, criminal enemy [Israel]. This victory has pleased all Arabs and Muslims. Second, after the changes that occurred in the region, and especially in Egypt, and after the victory in the [Gaza] Strip, the conditions have ripened to present the idea of annexing Gaza to Egypt.

"This idea is the best way to end the Israeli attacks on Gaza, and it should be realized, because [this situation has already existed] in the past. As you know, Gaza was under Egyptian control from 1948 until 1967, when Israel occupied the Gaza Strip and Sinai. For years following the [1967] war, Egypt demanded the liberation of its occupied territories – Sinai and the [Gaza] Strip – until President Sadat relinquished Gaza in the Camp David Accords and saddled its residents and the Palestinian people with the responsibility of negotiating for the liberation and autonomy [of Gaza].

"Sadat's [decision to] relinquish an area that had been under Egyptian control for decades was a wanton act, [and it was perpetrated] by him and his associates alone, since most of the Egyptian people was displeased by this agreement that separated Gaza from Egypt. [Sadat] negotiated the [agreement] alone and signed it without presenting it to the Egyptian parliament or seeking his people's position [on it].

"Annexing Gaza to Egypt will not contradict the peace agreements or the Arab initiative. On the contrary – it is an effective solution for Gaza residents, [because it will place them] under Egypt's patronage and protection. Furthermore, it is the best [solution] for Egypt, [because it will] relieve the ongoing tensions and conflict between Gaza and Israel – a conflict that negatively affects [Egypt's] national security and economy, and which causes [Egypt] embarrassment vis-à-vis the outside world, which insists that [Egypt's] borders with Gaza be supervised.

"Annexing Gaza to Egypt will not meet with objections from Israel, the U.S., or even the U.N., because it is up to Gaza and its residents to decide their own fate. Moreover, Israelis want this annexation more than anyone, since it would rid them of the threat of armed groups, ensure Egypt's sovereignty over the [Gaza] Strip, and end the attacks on [Israel from Gaza].

"There is also the geographic matter: How can the [West] Bank unite with Gaza despite the geographic separation? How can two entities separated by Israel comprise one homeland? [Does anyone really believe that] Israel will open passages for Palestinians between Gaza and the [West] Bank running through its territory, or that it will implement Defense Minister Ehud Barak's plan to dig a 57 kilometer tunnel for Palestinians to pass through? Can we envision a land swap in which the Palestinian Authority relinquishes territory in the [West] Bank in return for Israel giving the Palestinians land that connects the [West] Bank to the [Gaza] Strip? This is an unrealistic suggestion, because Israel would refuse to split in two. Therefore, the dream of establishing one homeland out of two entities that are geographically separated by more than 60 kilometers is a pipe dream and a mirage.

"Annexing [Gaza to Egypt] will not harm the Palestinian national cause or the implementation of the Arab initiative. On the contrary – it will strengthen negotiations. The Arab initiative demands [the liberation of] the [West] bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights, but if Gaza is liberated, all that remains is to focus on the other two demands.

"In the last few years, the heroes have liberated Gaza and removed the Israeli settlements there, and now they have defeated Israel and demonstrated their complete control over the [Gaza] Strip. The current focus should be on the West Bank and the efforts to support it and the resistance there. It would be a mistake on the part of the Arabs and the world to focus [only] on Gaza, its residents and its rehabilitation, and to neglect the rehabilitation of the [West] Bank and the political and material support for it. This is Israel's plan – it wants all eyes on Gaza while it Judaizes Jerusalem, expands settlements and seizes land in the [West] Bank.

"Egypt cannot focus on economic reforms and development, and cannot rid itself of this chronic headache, caused by repeated problems [relating to] Gaza, unless it annexes it. Instead of calling to open the Rafah border crossing, we must call to open all Egyptian crossings, schools, universities, hospitals, and markets to Gaza residents. Instead of remaining in the Gaza prison at the mercy of the opening [or closing] of the crossings, let them pass freely to the land of liberty and justice, the land of revolution and honor."

[1] It should be mentioned that in October 2009, the editor-in-chief of the official Saudi daily Al-Riyadh, Turki Al-Sudairi, published two articles in which he claimed that the solution for the chronic instability in Lebanon was to return it to Syria, from which it was separated in the Sykes-Picot Agreement. Al-Sudairi also defended his position in an interview with, claiming it was only his personal opinion. Following the uproar caused by his statements, Al-Sudairi published a third article in which he retracted his position and apologized. See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 2595, 'Al-Riyadh' Editor: 'Why Shouldn't Lebanon Return to Syria?', October 14, 2009, and MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 2598, 'Al-Riyadh' Editor Retracts Call to Return Lebanon to Syria, October 15, 2009.

[2] Al-Sharq (Saudi Arabia), November 26, 2012.

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