Egypt threatens end of treaty with Israel if even ‘a single Palestinian refugee’ crosses border

Egyptian officials are angered over an Israel Intelligence Ministry memo recommending the relocation of Gazan refugees into Egypt.

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

An Egyptian official told Israel HaYom that “even one Palestinian refugee” across its border may end or suspend Egypt’s decades-old peace treaty with Israel.

The treaty, which was signed by Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat in 1979 may be threatened, according to Egyptian sources, if there is a Palestinian refugee crisis in Egypt following Israel’s war with Hamas.

“If even one Palestinian refugee crosses over – the peace agreement will be nullified,” one Egyptian official said.

Another Egyptian official was slightly more moderate and indicated the treaty would be suspended rather than nullified.

Egypt is concerned that if some of the 1.4 million Gazan refugees who are currently in Rafah spill over past the Egyptian border, the country will face a long-term refugee crisis.

The anger of Egyptian officials has risen over memos published by the Israeli Intelligence Ministry recommending the relocation of many of the Gazan refugees into Egypt.

In addition, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich spoke of “voluntary emigration” of Gazan refugees to other countries, including Egypt.

Israel faces a challenge as it strives to eliminate Hamas from Rafah, which borders on Egypt, that the fighting may cause the refugees there to flee south and may anger Egypt with whom Israel has a long standing peace treaty.

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In addition, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s insistence that Israel maintain security controls in Gaza after the war may include an IDF patrol on the Philadelphi Corridor which borders Gaza and Egypt.

An IDF presence would prevent the smuggling of weapons and allow Israel to monitor activities on the border, although Egypt has said that an Israel military presence may threaten its sovereignty.

Given that Egyptian Prime Minister Abdel Fattah el-Sisi would also like to see Hamas gone from the area, security on the Gazan border with Egypt will likely require close communication between Egypt and Israel to maintain security while not violating prior treaties.