Proposal: A One-State Solution For Egypt and The Gaza Strip

Article Summary
The connection of the Gaza Strip inhabitants to Egypt is much stronger than their connection to Ramallah, writes Ben-Dror Yemini. And now, two entities with territorial continuity are under the control of the Muslim Brotherhood. There is no need to fear the linking of Egypt and Gaza — this is our opportunity to disengage from the Gaza Strip.

There is no need to fear the Gordian knot linking Egypt of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Gazan residents. Instead, this is our opportunity to disengage in earnest from the Gaza Strip.

By virtue of “one nation”

After our illusions about the Arab Spring were shattered last week for good, and we saw how the chain of revolutions led the Arab world from bad to worse, we still have to consider the positive side. Two entities with territorial continuity are now under the control of the Muslim Brotherhood. The same people, the same religion, the same ideology, the same culture, the same dreams. All attempts to find differences between the Gaza Strip and Egypt are doomed to failure. The residents of the Strip have never been so tightly bound to Egypt as they are now.

Despite Israel’s disengagement from the Gaza Strip in 2005, Israel’s convoluted policy has created a situation in which the Gaza Strip is still linked to Israel. There is even an NGO, Gisha (Legal Center for Freedom of Movement of Palestinians, especially Gaza residents), whose very existence seems to be dedicated to this purpose. Most of Gisha’s court petitions have one objective: the joining of the Strip to Israel and the West Bank by every possible means, with unrestricted passage, and supplies of commodities, education and more. The Gazan government talks to us in the language of the Muslim Brotherhood, and our idiots talk back to the Gazans with flowers.

The Gazan-Egyptian link existed long before the current presidential election results. Numerous Arab researchers have written about the early immigration waves to Ottoman territories, especially to the coastal area, as a result of the following events: the invasion of Ali and his son Ibrahim Pasha (1831–1841), the desertion of soldiers who remained in the Jaffa area, the escapes from compulsory recruitment in the 1840s, the fleeing of those who were pressed into forced labor to construct the Suez Canal (1858–1869) and other events.

Researcher Oroub El-Abed writes that there were commercial relations, bi-directional migrations and marriages between the two groups as a matter of course. Now the common identity shared by the Gaza Strip and Egypt is becoming much more tangible. In every way possible, the connection of the Gaza Strip inhabitants to Egypt is much stronger than their connection to Ramallah.

Thus the time has come to take a necessary step: Israel’s complete disconnection from the Gaza Strip, and the linking of the Gaza Strip to its mother state — Egypt. In the past there were concerns that such a linkage would cause Hamas ideology and concepts to spill over into Egypt. Well, that fear has come to pass: those ideas now unify the two entities. The tunnels between the Gaza Strip and Sinai have long become highways — turning the Israeli siege into an illusion. Yet Israel is the entity to suffer from this reality and appear as an "evil country," even though the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt is completely open.

The similarity between the two entities is even accepted by Hamas itself. Only a few months ago, Egyptian Minister of the Interior Fathi Hammad declared on television that “the Palestinians are Arabs. Half of them came from Saudi Arabia and half from Egypt.” In order to prove his claim, he cited the last names sported by residents of the Strip. In an earlier period (1948–1967), Egypt turned the Strip into a closed camp which no one could enter or leave.

Things have changed since then. The separation between the two entities is artificial and pointless. The only reason for the separation is to harass Israel — exactly like the case of the Palestinian refugees who are kept there like an open wound, only for the struggle against Israel. Well, there’s no need to give them this privilege. The Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt and the Gaza Strip is a golden opportunity to change things on the ground. It will not be easy or simple, but apparently this is the direction that Israel should push for.

Found in: tunnels, muslim, morsi, israel, idf, hamas, gaza, egypt

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