Last week, Israeli Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel said that a Palestinian state could only be established in the Sinai Peninsula. Cairo was outraged by Gamliel’s surprising statement and demanded a clarification. Senior Israeli officials reassured Egypt that Gamliel’s statement does not reflect Israel’s position.

Israeli Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel

Israeli Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel Photo Credit: Flash90

Israeli Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel (Likud) is currently in Egypt for a summit initiated by the European Union and the Jordanian and Egyptian governments on empowering women and promoting gender equality. However, Gamliel’s trip to Egypt has been overshadowed by a statement she made last week.

“​If there will be a Palestinian state, then only in Sinai,” Gamliel told the Sovereignty magazine last week. During the interview, Gamliel laid out a plan for a Palestinian state that she claimed could be accepted by both the international community and Israel’s neighboring states. Gamliel’s remarks about Sinai were picked up by the Egyptian media and sparked outrage throughout Egypt.

In light of Gamliel’s remarks, Egyptian Ambassador to Israel Hazem Khairat called senior Foreign Affairs Ministry officials in Jerusalem and requested a clarification. Before Gamliel’s statements sparked a diplomatic crisis, the officials told Khairat that Gamliel’s comments do not reflect Israel’s position.

A Foreign Affairs Ministry official told Channel 2 News: “This wasn’t a very smart remark. In some way, the outrage about Tzipi Hotovely resulted in the Israeli radar not paying attention to Gamliel but the Egyptian radar picked up on her comments.”

When asked for a comment, Gamliel’s office said that the minister sends her condolences to the Egyptian nation following the deadly terror attack on Friday and plans to represent the Israeli government when she delivers her speech tomorrow as a guest of the Egyptian government.