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Return Gaza to Egypt: It will help Israel – and the Middle East

Returning Gaza to Egypt would remove a sticking point in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and bring stability to the region. A post-Mubarak Egypt could have a moderating influence on Hamas, while giving the Gazan people a voice and ensuring greater security for Israel.

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The departure of Hosni Mubarak generates fear in Western capitals, and for good reasons. Egypt has been a steadfast ally of the West for decades, as it maintained peace with Israel and worked against Iranian influence in the region. Many Western leaders are frightened to realize that all this may evaporate if anti-Western forces, including the Muslim Brotherhood, gain power in a new government. But a new reality in Egypt may also present opportunities for peacemaking in the region that would have been unthinkable only weeks ago. One of these opportunities is to return Gaza to Egyptian control.

Egypt controlled the Gaza Strip in 1948, but lost it to Israel during the Six-Day War in 1967. While Egypt and Israel ultimately made peace in 1979, Gaza’s fate remained unresolved, to the detriment of Israel and the Gazan people. The consensus view among parties trying to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian dispute has been that Gaza must be part of a future Palestinian state, along with the West Bank. However, this consensus view makes little sense.

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