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Egypt Blames Israel for Slow Delivery of Critical Aid to Gaza Since Start of War

Egypt has accused the Israeli government of impeding the delivery of aid to Gaza since the start of the continuing war.
At no point since the latest violence began has Egypt closed its Rafah border crossing with Gaza, Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abou Zeid said.

Rafah is the only crossing out of the Palestinian enclave that is not under direct Israeli control.
Mr Abou Zeid said the Arab world’s most populous nation “would not accept any questioning of its support of Palestinians”.
He was responding to claims that keeping the border closed, as foreign nationals and residents tried to flee Gaza, had contributed to the high number of deaths inside the besieged enclave.

On Sunday night, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said on X, formerly known as Twitter, that he had pressed his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry to open the border.

The top Iranian diplomat said that he had told Mr Shoukry, on the sidelines of a summit held in Riyadh over the weekend, “today is our test day and Egypt is expected to open the Rafah crossing to send water, medicine to Gaza”.

Egypt and Jordan in October warned that any movement of refugees across their borders would constitute a regional threat.
Separately Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, during a televised interview with CNN last month, said the reason why evacuations hadn’t been allowed at the time was because Israel had hit the Rafah crossing with multiple air strikes, which required repairs before vehicles could enter.

ut despite the road repairs being completed, the movement of people and goods across the border remains controlled by closed-door political negotiations.

Mr Shoukry later said that administrators of the Rafah crossing on the Palestinian side had refused to allow foreign nationals out of the enclave until Israel allowed aid in.

Egypt allowed the evacuation of scores of wounded Gazans to its hospitals in the province of North Sinai on November 1 when an internationally brokered deal also allowed for the exit of foreign nationals trapped inside the enclave.

However, the number of wounded admitted to hospitals in Egypt remains minuscule compared to those inside the enclave.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has said his government will not allow the displacement of Palestinians into his country’s North Sinai region.

He accused Israel in an October speech of plotting to relocate Gazans into Sinai and have the Egyptian military administer them.
The population of the Gaza Strip is about 2.3 million.
Some Arab leaders including Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh have supported Mr El Sisi’s decision not to take in Palestinians.
Palestinians should remain on their land because losing it would mark defeat to Israel, they said.

Mirette Mabrouk, director of the Egypt programme at Washington’s Middle East Institute, said Cairo has its own interests to consider with regards to an influx of Palestinians into the Sinai peninsula.

“Sympathy for Palestinians and their plight under occupation is very widespread in Egypt, but sympathy alone cannot make the country commit troops or endanger its own interests by taking a firmer stance with Israel,” Ms Mabrouk told The National.

“Especially now that it is abundantly clear that [Israel] is trying to leverage Egypt’s economic crisis to pressure it to accept a large number of displaced Palestinians into Sinai, which Cairo sees as a serious security risk that would bring more problems than benefits.

“There is also a deep concern over whether Israel will allow Palestinians who evacuate to Egypt to return to their homes. We mustn’t forget that one of Israel’s goals here is to clear the Gaza Strip and have Hamas and Gaza be someone else’s problem.”

Although the Israeli army agreed to open humanitarian corridors from Egypt into Gaza on October 21 following a US-brokered deal, Israeli checkpoints at the border have only allowed in amounts of aid that are far smaller than what is needed for Gaza’s population, the UN has warned.

The largest daily aid delivery, comprising two convoys, one made up of 67 aid lorries and the other 72 vehicles, entered the Gaza strip on Monday, an Egyptian Red Crescent officer told The National.

Source: Thenationalnews