At his press conference with President Donald Trump in February, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu recommended including Arab states in a regional approach to Mideast peace. Trump affirmed him, saying a peace deal “would take in many, many countries.” These comments came amid speculation that the Sunni-Arab Gulf states are prepared to work with Israel to promote the “Greater Gaza” solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
After 80 years of Palestinian rejection of states—both a Jewish state and proposed boundaries for their own—and of peace with Israel, it should be clear that the “two-state solution” has expired. The Greater Gaza plan, in one form or another, has been discussed for years as an alternative.
In 2014, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi offered the Palestinians an autonomous, demilitarized Palestinian state incorporating Gaza and an additional adjacent 618 square miles of the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula. This would give the Palestinians a homeland—six times the size of Hamas-ruled Gaza—for both Palestinian Authority (PA) citizens and Palestinian refugees. The PA would retain autonomous over Arab-inhabited cities in the disputed territories, which would be linked to the new “Palestinian state” by a land corridor. Future land swaps could increase the state’s area. In return, PA President Mahmoud Abbas would relinquish his claim to the remainder of the territories and eastern Jerusalem. The PA, not Hamas, would rule this state. Abbas nixed the plan immediately.