Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak today denied a BBC report which claimed that he had agreed to resettle Palestinians in Egypt over three decades ago.
Published on the Facebook page Ana Asef Ya Rayes (I am sorry Mr. President), Mubarak said: “In order to explain what has been circulated on media in recent days, based on British documents that were published on the meeting between me and the British Prime Minister in February 1983, I found it important to clarify the following historical facts to the Egyptian people.”
“During the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, things were going to be worse in the Middle East. This was months after the completion of the Israeli withdrawal from Sinai in 1982. In light of this Israeli aggression, its invasion of an Arab country and the arrival of its troops to Beirut, I made a decision to withdraw the Egyptian ambassador out of Israel and worked to secure the exit of Palestinians who were trapped in Beirut.”
He added: “Egypt had indeed secured the exit of the Palestinians who were trapped in Beirut, headed by Yasser Arafat. They passed through the Suez Canal and headed to Yemen. When the ship that was carrying Yasser Arafat and his companions stopped, I met them in the Suez Canal and stressed that Egypt stood with the Palestinian people to obtain their legitimate rights.”
He went on: “There is absolutely no truth to any claims of Egypt’s acceptance, or my acceptance, of resettling Palestinians in Egypt, specifically those who were in Lebanon at that time. Some parties tried to convince me to settle some of the Palestinians who were in Lebanon at the time in Egypt, which I absolutely refused, along with attempts and subsequent efforts to either settle Palestinians in Egypt or … in part of the Sinai territories through a suggestion of land exchanges that the Israeli prime minister at that time proposed.”
“I immediately confirmed to him in the meeting that I was not even ready to listen to any proposals regarding this matter again.”
He concluded by saying: “I have maintained a principle that I have never changed, which is not letting go of any inch of the Egyptian land that I fought along with my generation for. This was embodied in our insistence on restoring the last inch of our land which was occupied in 1967 and our success in returning the whole town of Taba to Egyptian sovereignty.”
Secret British documents have revealed that deposed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak had agreed to resettle Palestinians in Egypt over three decades ago. According to the documents, obtained exclusively by the BBC following a Freedom of Information Act disclosure request, Mubarak was responding to an American request when he made his offer. The former president stipulated that in return for agreeing to the move, an agreement to end the Arab-Israeli conflict must be reached.