|The Approach to Mount Sinai - David Roberts|
The word is being spread by the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (IEJ, in the person of Shaykh Nabil Naim) and Hamas itself; who allegedly accused Israel and Egypt of holding secret meetings to agree on settling Gazans in the Sinai. However, the thought is not new as it started with Hosni Mubarak's fear that Gazans were buying land to settle in the peninsula.
Last year, the subject came up again, in Egypt; and Hamas quickly dismissed it reiterating that Palestinians would stay in Gaza (an integral part of Palestine) and not go "(..) to an alternative homeland, migration or resettlement".
Yet, this year, Hamas and Nabil Naim brought it up again - albeit in a deflective fashion: to what purpose?
If the intent was to simply spread a rumour, what would be two possible outcomes? To provoke the ire of Islamic radicals against Israel and against Egypt (whose political leadership is in dire straits and surrounded by Salafi forces, that Cerberus-like, await President Morsi's fall in order to devour him and take his place); and to test the waters - to see the Palestinian reaction to such an idea.
If the intention was to make a suggestion to the PA and the Arab League (for approval); then perhaps we should think it through.
Either way, it could be an indication that Hamas (and friends) have finally realised the futility of their actions:
"After Hamas's takeover of Gaza, it has decided to clash with Israel, though this clash seems to be a laughable caricature, because clashing with an opponent in battle is supposed to mean damaging them (...) You do not go into battle just to damage yourself." -- Ahmed Aboul Gheit
Let's assume that Mr Naim's and Hamas' accusation is substantiated: inasmuch as this year marks 34 years since the two countries signed a peace treaty - and the Sinai was handed to the Pharaoh's Land - we can't avoid relishing the idea of Egypt (led by an Islamist government) and Israel concocting a solution to bring peace to the Middle East.
Assuming that Egypt is truly willing to sacrifice part of its territory (a piece of land it can't seem to control) for peace; then Palestine would be much better off than keeping Gaza and some parts of Samaria & Judea. The Sinai Peninsula, as a Palestinian State, would also offer Palestinians the possibility of living united in one single territory (as opposed to being divided - thus, weakened). The triangular peninsula has an area of 60,000 km2 (23,000 sq miles) - all Palestinians (including refugees) could live there without being crammed in an area of 365 km2 (Gaza) and in an area less than 5,000 km2. With investment from Qatar, and other Arab nations (although the EU and the UN would certainly chip in as well), Palestinians could continue to develop the Sinai; jobs would be created; and, security forces (that have been trained in Hamas' military schools) would finally be able to work to secure its borders (instead of fighting ineffective and detrimental wars) - the peninsula would no longer be lawless. Due to the political, judicial, educational and health systems built in Gaza, and in some parts of Judea & Samaria, it would be relatively easy for the new joint government (composed by both Hamas and Fatah elements) to transfer them to Sinai and carrying on with their work for the benefit of the People.
In the Sinai, Palestine could finally be a de juris State with full rights but mainly responsibilities - the actions of its leaders would actually be held accountable by the International Community (which should not constitute a problem when we think of the huge advantages of taking such a deal: peace and a land to call Home). Notwithstanding, we should ask ourselves whether Palestinians would be willing to respect the rights of the Bedouins living in the Sinai - which would represent another round of protractible negotiations.
We don't know the EIJ's and Hamas' real intent when they made the alleged accusations, but we do know that their idea (be it either a rumour or a suggestion) should be taken into consideration because, from where we are standing, it may be a divine one.
Who knew that from radical jihadist rhetoric could arise a possible solution to a conflict?