A former Egyptian ambassador said that the current displacement of residents of the Sinai Peninsula sets the stage for the implementation of "the deal of the century", adding that the Egyptian authorities are spreading "lies" by saying that the displacement is being carried out in the context of the fight against Daesh.
Abdallah Al-Ashaal told Al-Resalah that there is no explanation for the displacement operations except that there is a conspiracy taking place at the hands of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority.
The conspiracy, according to Al-Ashaal, aims at establishing an entity and not a state for Palestinians under the pretext of expanding the Gaza Strip.
A Saudi-backed developmental plan seeks to establish infrastructure projects in Northern Sinai, such as the King Salman University and desalination and power plants, he added. These projects are "definitely not being worked on for those who are being displaced in the Sinai."
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas is part of the deal, Al-Ashaal said. "If this was not the case, there would be a search for another person who would accept it, and [dismissed Palestinian Liberation Organisation member] Dahlan is related to … this deal."
In Al-Ashaal's view, the plan also includes the two Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi handed over to Saudi Arabia in 2016.
The developmental plan that Sisi talks about includes expanding the Gaza Strip, Ashaal said. "Why the expansion and how can it be useful for Gaza that its borders stretch to the border of Arish [the Sinai city]?" Ashaal asked.
Using "security concerns", Egypt has been emptying Sinai of its residents beginning with the border town of Rafah near the besieged Gaza Strip.
Local media reported yesterday that the Egyptian Ministry of Defence has asked the Ministry of Health to be ready for a state of emergency and for all hospitals in Ismailiyah to be prepared for a wide-scale military operation in northern Sinai.