Gaza and the West Bank are not contiguous territories. And Gaza is controlled by Hamas, a radical Islamic movement opposed to peace with Israel, while the West Bank is controlled by the secular, moderate Palestinian Authority. Making peace between Israel and Palestine would be easier to accomplish if the only territory in dispute was the West Bank. In addition, while many Gazans view themselves as Palestinians, in many ways, they are more culturally and economically connected to Egypt than the West Bank. Increasing these ties could benefit Gazans and move the region closer to peace.
A new Egypt is ripe for returning Gaza
But the idea of returning Gaza to Egyptian control has always been rejected out of hand, mainly by Egypt itself. The rationale for this has always been that Mubarak’s regime would be threatened because the radicalism from Gaza would strengthen the Muslim Brotherhood movement in Egypt. However, this rationale might not apply in a post-Mubarak Egypt, especially one in which the Muslim Brotherhood played a role.