More ISIS Turmoil in the North Sinai

Palestine_front_CoverOn Monday, ISIS (also Islamic State) militants killed eighteen Egyptian police officers and wounded seven others in Egypt’s northwestern Sinai. ISIS did it by remotely detonating roadside bombs and using machine guns against a five-vehicle convoy. ISIS has been leading an Islamic insurgency there for the past few years.

I maintain that, because this North Sinai region is so chaotic and dangerous to control, Egypt should consider relinquishing it in some type of barter situation as part of a Palestinian state. Its location would resemble “the land of the Philistines.” See my book, Palestine Is Coming: The Revival of Ancient Philistia (1990), in which I make this proposal as the best two-state solution for the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In fact, the northeastern border of ancient Egypt was usually the Wadi el Arish river basin. Thus, historically, this portion of the Sinai did not belong to Egypt. The region between the city of El Arish and the Gaza Strip is so restive that it is becoming like the Gaza Strip was to Israel between the years 1967 and 2005, when Israel unilaterally relinquished it to the Palestinians and received nothing in return. Egypt could do the same with this North Sinai region. But I think a deal could be worked out in which Egypt would receive something in return.

In my proposal, the Palestinians and Israelis would have an equal-length coastline along the Mediterranean Sea, being about eighty miles in length for each. Years ago, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated that the Eastern Mediterranean Seabed contains one of the richest deposits of petroleum and liquid natural gas in the world. Since then, Israel is realizing considerable wealth from drilling LNG, piping it to shore at Ashdod, and now being a major exporter LNG to Europe. And these oil companies drilling for Israel have not even tried to discover the oil down there yet. If my proposal became reality, Palestinians likely would realize similar wealth as well. Egypt has hardly any such fossil fuels. And being a nation of 85 million people, Egypt must import fossil fuels. A deal could conceivably be worked out in which Egypt would receive this needed resource from Palestinians in exchange for land.

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