Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Donald Trump will discuss a plan to establish a Palestinian state in Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula and not in the West Bank, Israeli Minister Ayoub Kara told The Times of Israel on Tuesday.
Kara, who is a minister without portfolio, said he discussed the issue with Netanyahu on Sunday before the prime minster left for the U.S. in an effort to convince him to push the plan, and said Netanyahu would bring up the issue during his meeting with Trump, emphasizing "the issue is on the agenda."
Kara said the plan would revive a reported 2014 Egyptian proposal to resettle Palestinian refugees in a large tract of land in the Sinai Peninsula to be annexed to the adjacent Gaza Strip.
However, the plan was denied by Egyptian officials and rejected by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, The Jerusalem Post reported at the time the proposal was first supposedly made.
The international community has also rejected such an idea, instead insisting a Palestinian state must be established in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, areas captured by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War.
One of the sticking points of a state in those areas, however, is the West Bank and Gaza are not contiguous, and the only way to make them so would be to cut Israel into two parts.
There are also several hundred thousand Israeli Jews living in the West Bank, which is just a few kilometers away from Israel's major population centers, making a Palestinian state there especially problematic for Israeli security concerns.
The Sinai, however, is a much larger area than the West Bank and has far fewer people. Netanyahu has never publicly expressed support for the Sinai plan.
Israeli government officials declined to comment on Kara's statements and his spokesman later appeared to backtrack, saying the minister was stating what he "believes" will happen, according to The Times of Israel.
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