Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, in a May 17 speech, said new opportunities now exist to promote peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and warmer relations with Arab states. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Egypt will never agree to swap land – Who is living in La La Land?

William Sebastian Cohen, The Leaders Project, U.S. Department of State photo.

William Sebastian Cohen, The Leaders Project, U.S. Department of State photo.

In November 2005 I attended a conference in the States called “The Leaders Project“. It was organized and chaired by William Cohen, the former Defense Secretary of the US. Among the conference participants, in the list that appeared with the conference invitation, was Gamal Mubarak – the then powerful son of Egypt’s President Husni Mubarak.

Before going to the conference I received a phone call from Giora Eiland, Israel’s National Security Adviser. He asked to meet with me prior to the conference. We met and he presented a plan, which I was very familiar with proposing a four-party land swap between Israel-Egypt-Palestine-Jordan that would enable Israel to annex the settlement blocks in the West Bank.

The idea was creative, but I said it was a non-starter – Egypt would not give one grain of sand of Sinai to the Palestinians. I told him that I was reluctant to present the plan to Gamal Mubarak because I am very familiar with the Egyptian attitude on trading land.

Fortunately, Mubarak did not show up at the conference and I did not have to make the presentation. It was a non-starter then, and it is a non-starter today. People who don’t want to seriously and genuinely confront Israel’s bi-national one state reality search for fantasy dreams and proposals that avoid reality.

Gershon Baskin

Gershon Baskin

Gershon Baskin is one of the most recognizable names in the Middle East Peace process. His dedication to creating a culture of peace and environmental awareness, coupled with his impeccable integrity, has earned him the trust of the leaders of all sides of the century old conflict. Few people have such far-reaching and positive impacts on promoting peace, security, prosperity and bi-national relationships.
Gershon is an advisor to Israeli, Palestinian and International Prime Ministers on the Middle East Peace Process and the founder and director of IPCRI, the Israeli-Palestinian Public Policy Institute. He was the initiator and negotiator of the secret back channel between Israel and Hamas for the release of 1,027 prisoners – mainly Palestinians and Arab-Israelis of which 280 were sentenced to life in prison for planning and perpetrating various attacks against Jewish targets that resulted in the killing of 569 Israelis in exchange for one Israeli soldier, Gilad Schalit. Gershon is actively involved in research and advocacy concerning topics such as social policy, environmental security, political strategy, peace education, economics, culture and in the development of affordable solar projects with the goal of providing clean electricity for 50 million people by 2020.
Gershon Baskin

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About Gershon Baskin

Gershon Baskin is one of the most recognizable names in the Middle East Peace process. His dedication to creating a culture of peace and environmental awareness, coupled with his impeccable integrity, has earned him the trust of the leaders of all sides of the century old conflict. Few people have such far-reaching and positive impacts on promoting peace, security, prosperity and bi-national relationships. Gershon is an advisor to Israeli, Palestinian and International Prime Ministers on the Middle East Peace Process and the founder and director of IPCRI, the Israeli-Palestinian Public Policy Institute. He was the initiator and negotiator of the secret back channel between Israel and Hamas for the release of 1,027 prisoners – mainly Palestinians and Arab-Israelis of which 280 were sentenced to life in prison for planning and perpetrating various attacks against Jewish targets that resulted in the killing of 569 Israelis in exchange for one Israeli soldier, Gilad Schalit. Gershon is actively involved in research and advocacy concerning topics such as social policy, environmental security, political strategy, peace education, economics, culture and in the development of affordable solar projects with the goal of providing clean electricity for 50 million people by 2020.