Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Cairo for Gaza talks with Egypt's El Sisi

Abbas rejects forced resettlement of Palestinians from Gaza and West Bank to Egypt and Jordan

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, right, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the presidential palace in Cairo on Monday. AFP
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Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian President, held talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi on Monday as senior diplomats from the US, Germany and the EU toured the region for discussions aimed at preventing the war in Gaza from spreading.

Mr Abbas, also known as Abu Mazen, arrived in Cairo on Sunday night.

A brief statement by the Egyptian presidency said little about the content of the latest talks between the Mr El Sisi and the head of the PA, which governs the occupied West Bank.

It quoted Mr Abbas as saying the “only solution” to the escalation of hostilities in the region was “ending Israeli occupation of the land of the state of Palestine and its capital [East] Jerusalem”.

The statement said Mr Abbas also told his Egyptian counterpart the PA opposed any plans to forcefully evict Palestinians living in Gaza, the West Bank or East Jerusalem.

Cairo and Amman have in recent weeks stated their vehement rejection of suggestions by right-wing Israeli politicians that Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza should be forced to move and resettle in Jordan and Egypt.

The meeting took place as mediators were trying to hammer out a blueprint for the future of Gaza once hostilities between Hamas and Israel come to an end.

The war is now in its fourth month, after Hamas fighters on October 7 went on a deadly rampage in southern Israel, killing 1,200 and taking 240 hostages back to Gaza.

Israel responded with a devastating onslaught that has to date killed nearly 23,000 people, displaced 1.9 million of the territory's 2.3 million residents and laid to waste large built-up areas in the narrow, densely populated coastal enclave.

Egypt, Qatar and the US have been mediating between Israel and Hamas. Their mediation produced a temporary, week-long truce that ended on December 1 after the warring parties completed an exchange of hostages and prisoners.

The three countries have since been working towards another prisoner and hostage swap deal, a permanent ceasefire and arrangements for governing and security in Gaza after the war ends.

Egyptian sources familiar with the back-channel negotiations have said the PA has repeatedly told mediators it is the legitimate representative of the Palestinians and should be given the responsibility of running Gaza after the cessation of hostilities.

The PA also seeks to control funds set aside by donors for the enclave's reconstruction.

Hamas has ruled Gaza since its supporters expelled representatives of the PA and members of the mainstream Palestinian Fatah faction from the territory in a brief civil war in 2007, two years after Israel unilaterally pulled out of the enclave after 38 years.

Updated: January 09, 2024, 6:38 AM