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.
The documents show that Mubarak revealed the US request and his response during talks with the then British Prime Minister, the late Margaret Thatcher. The talks were held during his visit to London on his way back to Washington, in February 1983, where he met with the late US President Ronald Reagan.
The two visits occurred eight months after Israel had invaded Lebanon on 6 June 1982 under the pretext of waging a military operation against the PLO. This was prompted by an assassination attempt against the Israeli ambassador in London, Shlomo Argov.
In light of the very tense situation in the Middle East, Mubarak sought to convince the US and Israel to accept the establishment of a Palestinian entity in the context of a “confederation” with Jordan, in order to lay the foundations for establishing a future independent Palestinian state. According to the record of his meeting with Thatcher, Mubarak said that when he had been asked to accept Palestinians from Lebanon, he told the US he could do so only within the context of a comprehensive plan to resolve the conflict. The former president expressed his willingness to host Palestinians from Lebanon despite his awareness of the dangers of such a step. He also insisted that, “A Palestinian state will never pose a threat to Israel.”