Daniel Ben Abraham
The opposite of war is nuance

Recognize a Palestinian State… in the Sinai?

Recognize a Palestinian State? How about in the Sinai

As the US threatens recognition of a Palestinian state to deter a Rafah invasion, a Palestinian state in the Sinai, even if fully opposed by Egypt, is such a powerful idea as to be potentially unstoppable. 

Israel’s future is on the line, and as more of our brave young people die in the conflict, we owe them a strategy smart enough to justify their sacrifice. By addressing the ideological roots of the conflict, Israel might just reshape reality.

The Biden administration announced in January that the US State Department is reviewing options for unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state, as part of a deal for normalization with Saudi Arabia. Blinken was in Egypt February 6 meeting with Egyptian President El-Sisi, and King Abdullah of Jordan visited the White House to discuss the matter on February 12. But Israel’s goal, unity to address the threat from Iran, may not be the Administration’s. The US inquiry is perplexing, as clear US policy for decades has been to oppose U.N. recognition of a Palestinian state and even oppose all bilateral recognition, absent mutual agreement with Israel. It is also odd, as the Saudis have recently said a US commitment to the political process would suffice. If you’d like to take a guess where such radical US policy ideas are coming from, American exploration of unilateral recognition last occurred during fiercely anti-Israel Obama Administration. And interestingly, Obama was also present at the White House for King Abdullah’s visit, for those connecting the dots.

PM Netanyahu’s response was rightly, “Israel will not submit to international dictates”, explaining such recognition would be a reward for October 7th, and cause more conflict. But what should PM Netanyahu’s chess move be if the US regardless announces unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state, or uses such to pressure Israel on Rafah? What leverage does Netanyahu have to try to deter such a unilateral move in the first place? And what solutions exist to this continuing conflict? 

Let’s put aside that it is nonsensical to unilaterally recognize the fictional impossibility of a state that can’t agree on its own borders, is run by an outside-funded terrorist group, and based on external ideology that wants genocidal war against Israel. The US unilaterally recognizing a Palestinian state on Israeli territory would be as nonsensical as Ukraine recognizing a Ukrainian state up to Moscow. Recognizing a state on territory it doesn’t control or with borders even Palestinians don’t agree on would only trigger more conflict, if not restart the 1948 war all over again. According the the Treaty of Westphalia (1648) which paved way for the modern international nation-state system, the objective minimum requirements for Palestinians to be a nation are absent, including one governing authority’s control over the population, and clearly-defined borders.

Let’s also put aside that such threatened US policy lacks understanding that any Palestinian state in Judea, Samaria, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, would only be used as a foothold to acquire arms and territory to better attack Israel. 

Let’s step back and look at the fundamentals of why.

Can Israel destroy Hamas? 

Israel has been fighting Hamas for over 35 years, and Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad even longer. Likewise, the US fought the Taliban in Afghanistan for 20 years. We’ve learned nothing, and the world condemns Israel now more than ever. 

Israel is NOT fighting an individual (like Hitler).

Israel is NOT fighting a religion. 

Israel is NOT fighting a nation.

Israel is fighting an ideology.

Regardless that Israel is justified, it can’t destroy Hamas with force alone because it is an idea. When Israel kills terrorists, new ones take their place. Even if Israel killed every Hamas member in Gaza, new members will sprout in the fertile soil of the Palestinian collective mindset. With Amalek, the Torah told us to “destroy all memory of them”, but the Palestinians and their leaders in Qatar and their supporters in Iran will remember Hamas. If not following the Torah, this strategy alone won’t work. 

Israel is actually fighting an ideological entity called the “Palestinian cause.” Individuals players, and even leaders, are not independent-thinking actors, but adherents carrying out the will of the ideology. 

The correct course is to understand that the only way to destroy an idea is with a better idea.  

A two-state “solution” with a Palestinian state in Judea, Samaria, Gaza and East Jerusalem cannot be successful because it would only be seen by Palestinian ideology as a stepping stone toward destroying Israel, to bring in millions of people, better arm themselves, and eventually attack. There are no Arab democracies in the Middle East, and nobody can explain why a Palestinian state would be the first. And with no internal political process, all political gain would derive from demonizing Israel, continuing to advance the same “Palestinian cause”, and more conflict against Israel from the better attacking position of statehood. Even if you demilitarized the Palestinian state, Palestinians would simply continue to seek to destroy Israel through better smuggling weapons, population expansion, legal, political, diplomatic, and other means. Empowering them with statehood without first addressing their ideology and its external support like from Iran will only make the ideology more aggressive.

But what if the current US administration does it regardless? 

Netanyahu might deter such a move, or respond, with something equally unconventional, and much smarter: 

A key to the whole ideological problem in a nutshell:

In sum, the “Palestinian cause” is an ideology. And, the only thing that can defeat an idea is a better idea. 


The Palestinian “cause” ideology is actually made up of two separate ideologies: 

A. one ideology that simply, innocently, wants to help Palestinians live better lives in peace, and,

B. one ideology that wants to destroy Israel. 

The problem is, they are merged. As Israel recognizes, when you feed one, you feed the other. The world thinks its helping A, but it’s also helping B. Globally, those who want to simply help the Palestinians are united with those who want a Palestinian state as a stepping stone to destroying Israel. Because this is on a powerful, emotional, ideological level, Israel’s logical explanation is ineffective at persuading most other nations. These ideologies unconsciously control the purportedly-well-reasoned viewpoints of individuals and leaders and journalists worldwide. These ideologies span across the globe, inhabit the views of many groups and leaders of nations, and run down the middle of the mindset of each individual. Most are unaware whether deep down inside their subconscious they support A or B, or both, or 80/20, or 90/10, etc. After all, at what point in the human unconscious is supporting A and simply not being too concerned about B actually supporting B also? 

Another way to see it is: extremists can only swim in a sea of moderates. This is why recognizing a Palestinian state without defining borders, or without their recognition of Israel, is the exact opposite of what will create peace. It will unite and empower the two parts of the ideology even more. When ideologies become more powerful, they don’t tend to become more peaceful, they become more aggressive.

The key to any solution is:

Divide the ideology. Take actions that divide the Palestinian “cause” into its sub-ideologies, separating them. You can’t fight an ideology just by killing its members, but if smart, you can get an ideology to divide and fight itself, whether through debate, policy, politics, economic channels, other otherwise. Israel has done this in part by turning the Palestinians against Hamas to some degree, but this is insufficient long term.

The solution is to propose policies and take actions that help A at the expense of B. And then, create the systems that irresistibly empower and enrich those who support A at the expense of the interests of those who support B. 

Turn: A + B = conflict with Israel 

Into: A gains as B loses

Then: A + Israel = isolates B

Here is one outside-the-box example that admittedly sounds crazy:  

Recognizing a Palestinian state in the Sinai 

Of course, everyone will instantly reject such an unconventional idea that goes against every Arab country’s longstanding policy. But, this strategy might work even despite everyone rejecting it, as a good idea based on truth can take hold even if most of the world fights to stop it. 

Israel declaring recognition of a Palestinian state in the Sinai is no less crazy than the US declaring a Palestinian state in Judea with a capitol in East Jerusalem, or any nation declaring part of any other nation or their capitol as belonging to a third party. If it sounds crazy, Egypt has not only reinforced its barrier at the Rafah border, but is already creating a fenced-in area across the border in the Sinai for expected Palestinian refugees. 

Netanyahu’s chess move, the US and Egypt should know, in response to unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria, may be Israel’s recognition of a Palestinian state in the Sinai. It may also be used as a threat to Hamas, that if they don’t release the hostages immediately, Israel may recognize a Palestinian state in the Sinai.

How in the world?

A Palestinian state in the Sinai separates the two sub-ideologies that make up the “Palestinian cause”. It is more outside-the-box than anything tried in the last 75 years, because it divides and puts the two ideologies against each other. It creates a new alternative, fractions, and a situation where one ideology gains as the other loses. 

With a Palestinian state in the Sinai, Palestinians can have their state that they and the world are demanding. They can have borders with Israel and Egypt, a seaport, an airport, free trade, an economy, a fertile Mediterranean coastline, waterways, and global financial investment and support. It would be near the major city of Cairo, it would be near Aqaba Jordan, and near The Line – the new Saudi Arabian modern city being built. The Sinai is 60,000 square kilometers and most of that land is unused, whereas Gaza is only 365 square kilometers, meaning that a small fraction of the Sinai would give Palestinians more land than Gaza, Judea, and Samaria combined. 

The only thing missing is, it doesn’t bring the Palestinians closer to destroying Israel per the goals of Hamas. That’s a heck of an argument to try and rationally win when the whole world has been pounding their fists for a Palestinian state and an end to their suffering, all of which they would get. It changes the dynamic away from a zero sum game with Israel. It furthers the “Palestinian cause” of improving the lives of Palestinian people with statehood and autonomy, while weakening the “Palestinian cause” of destroying Israel. The Palestinians who want a state and peace will fight for it, and those who only want to destroy Israel will fight against it. Thus, they will debate and fight each other. That debate will go global, and Israel would recruit millions of people and entire nations who ask “why not” to its side. One Palestinian cause would strengthen, and the other weaken. For every argument that a Palestinian is suffering, they now have another option to move to a Palestinian state in the Sinai, ending the ideological stalemate that blames only Israel for whatever problems Hamas can cause. The issue is not whether Palestinians or Egypt reject it, but transferring the blame against Israel if they do. Israel can offer a state and a solution, without rewarding Hamas at all.

It’s not Israel kicking the Palestinians out, but the Palestinians choosing to build a state where they can do so while weakening their terror breeding ground so they can govern themselves. And if you don’t think that idea is powerful, wait till you see the viral videos of Palestinians at the Rafah border demanding food, water, and medical care for their children being turned away by Egyptian authorities.


  • It’s a legal impossibility. – True, but so is external recognition of a Palestinian state on Israel’s territory, or without clear borders or leadership.
  • Egypt and Arab states won’t agree. – True, but they don’t have to agree. As Hamas continues the conflict hurting the Palestinian people, many Palestinians will flood into the Sinai to receive international aid and better life than in Gaza, boosting the ideology. 
  • Egypt has threatened withdrawal of its Camp David Treaty with Israel. – Egypt has no basis to complain about its own duties under international law to accept refugees at its border who seek asylum. As detailed in my other article, Egypt has a duty to accept refugees per its legal obligations as a signatory to the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, adopted in 1951. In fact, Egypt’s failure to take in refugees for decades to advance the “Palestinian cause” ideology, and allowance of smuggling into Gaza, is arguably partly to blame for the conflict. Once Egypt has enough Palestinian refugees, they will want the same thing there, their own state. Egypt will seek international involvement on the issue, and to distribute its responsibility to other nations. With Egypt facing severe financial problems recently, other nations will be able to push Egypt to adopt measures in exchange for funds. Ultimately, Egypt could benefit with a new additional neighboring state as a trading partner and economic stimulus in the Sinai, and the entire Sunni Arab world can benefit from uniting with Israel against the threat posed by Iran. While this strategy doesn’t address the Iran problem, it empowers Israel with new ideas to unite with Arab allies to deal with it.
  • The international community will be angered at Israel. – True, but they will also have a new way of helping Palestinians without hurting Israel, lifting pressure currently united against Israel. The international community can pump billions of dollars into the new state in the Sinai, including frozen terrorist and Iranian funds. Besides, if Palestinian people want to go elsewhere, who are foreigners to dictate that they can’t? 
  • Hamas will take over and or sabotage the new state. – This would happen even more likely with a state alongside Israel. This way, at least the international community could get involved, help moderate Palestinians, facilitate a political process, and Israel could support it as it wouldn’t all be at Israel’s expense. It would align the efforts of Israel and much of the world.
  • Such a state would collapse. – That could happen alongside Israel anyway. Then, such populations of refugees could be absorbed into other Arab states, which both Israel and Egypt would then be united proponents of.
  • Such a state would still be a threat to Israel. Ideologically it would be less so, and it would have the freedom to prosper, thereby at least able to build a constructive ideology.

Whether such an idea would ultimately work is up to the Palestinians and Arab world. If it comes along with an ideology of respecting Israeli sovereignty in exchange for Arab prosperity, it can work. If it doesn’t, it’ll still reduce the mounting global pressure on Israel.

Such a policy would also follow the scriptures of all three major Abrahamic religions which provide for Israel’s right to the Holy Land. This includes the Qur’an’s Zionist language giving Israel to the Jewish people: “Remember when Moses said to his people: ‘My people, remember Allah’s favour upon you when He raised Prophets amongst you and appointed you rulers, and granted to you what He had not granted to anyone else in the world.” (Qur’an 5:20). “My people! Enter the holy land which Allah has ordained for you; and do not turn back for then you will turn about losers.” (Qur’an 5:21) “And thereafter We [Allah] said to the Children of Israel: ‘Dwell securely in the Promised Land” (Qur’an 17:104). Every other Arab state that doesn’t try to conquer Israel prospers consistent with this language, and it’s about time the Palestinians did likewise. Developing Arab communities around, but not in Israel, has basis in scripture to create ideological support for a solution that fully accepts Israel. This policy provides financial and long-term ideological support for that solution.

In sum, Israel’s challenges are not conflicts against an individual, nor against a group. They are against an ideology. That ideology tells Arab leaders what to think and do, and it can be divided. When we start strategically thinking about how to divert ideological momentum instead of killing its adherents, that’s when we start diverting the river instead of using a teaspoon, and taking our first steps toward peace.

About the Author
Daniel was born in Budapest, Hungary, to the grandchildren of Holocaust survivors, and grew up in New York City. Daniel obtained his Bachelor's degree from Penn State University, has a Juris Doctorate with a specialization in public international law. He is the author of several books and articles, including The PeaceMatrix™, about a theoretical new system for solving all human conflicts. Daniel's approaches to the challenges of anti-Semitism, terrorism, and Israeli and international peace and security combine understandings of psychology, philosophy, law, Judaism and spirituality, and metaphysics.
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