Egypt’s prime minister on Tuesday said his country was ready to “sacrifice millions of lives” for the Sinai peninsula in an apparent reference to reports of Israel’s intelligence ministry’s wartime draft proposal to transfer the Gaza Strip’s 2.3 million people to the region.
“Egypt will never allow anything to be imposed on it,” Mostafa Madbouly said, adding regional issues would not be solved at the country’s “expense.”
Madbouly’s comments came in a speech during his visit to al-Arish in northern Sinai.
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He was accompanied by hundreds of government officials and public figures.
Reports of the Israeli proposal have drawn condemnation from the Palestinians and worsened tensions with Cairo.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, however, downplayed the paper as a hypothetical exercise.
But its conclusions deepened long-standing Egyptian fears that Israel wants to make Gaza into Egypt’s problem, and revived for Palestinians memories of their greatest trauma — the uprooting of hundreds of thousands of people who fled or were forced from their homes during the fighting surrounding Israel’s creation in 1948.
So far more than 8,300 Palestinians, the vast majority of them civilians, have been killed since Israel went to war against Hamas after its October 7 attack.
The document is dated October 13, six days after Hamas militants killed more than 1,400 people in southern Israel and took over 240 hostages in an attack that provoked a devastating Israeli war in Gaza.
It was first published by Sicha Mekomit, a local news site.
The intelligence ministry - a junior ministry - conducts research but does not set policy.