Egyptian Foreign Minister Calls for Opening of Rafah Border Crossing
In a recent statement, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry expressed concern over the Israeli government’s reluctance to allow the reopening of the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. Shoukry emphasized the dangerous situation faced by the Palestinian people in Gaza and stressed Egypt’s commitment to keeping the crossing operational.
Efforts to Reopen the Rafah Crossing
The Egyptian-controlled Rafah crossing was expected to reopen to facilitate the entry of aid into Gaza, which has been under intense Israeli bombing. UN aid chief Martin Griffiths announced his plans to travel to the Middle East to support negotiations on getting aid into the blockaded Gaza Strip. He mentioned that his office was in discussions with Israel, Egypt, and other parties involved.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also expressed optimism about the reopening of the Rafah crossing, stating that a mechanism was being put in place with the United Nations, Egypt, Israel, and others to ensure assistance reaches those in need. However, no specific timeline for the reopening was provided. Blinken appointed veteran US diplomat David Satterfield as a special envoy for Middle East humanitarian issues to work out the details.
Denial of Temporary Gaza Ceasefire
Contrary to media reports, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office denied any temporary Gaza ceasefire to allow foreign nationals to flee to neighboring Egypt. However, the Israeli army pledged not to strike routes designated for evacuating people from the north to the south of Gaza during a limited time window.
Awaiting Aid Convoys at the Egyptian Side
Aid convoys have been waiting on the Egyptian side of the border, but witnesses reported that they had not yet left the town of El-Arish. The Israeli military announced that it would refrain from striking two roads in the Gaza Strip designated for residents to move south during a specific time period. This move aimed to ensure the safety of civilians seeking to evacuate.
International Calls for Compliance with Laws of War
US President Joe Biden urged Israel to follow the laws of war in its response to the Hamas attacks. He emphasized that the overwhelming majority of Palestinians had nothing to do with Hamas’ actions and were suffering as a result. In a recent interview, Biden also stated that Israel needed to eliminate Hamas but warned against occupying Gaza.
Fuel Reserves at Gaza Hospitals Running Low
The United Nations humanitarian office (OCHA) reported that fuel reserves at all hospitals across the Gaza Strip would only last for approximately 24 more hours. This puts thousands of patients at risk. The Israeli blockade has prevented the entry of fuel, food, and water into Gaza, exacerbating the humanitarian crisis.
Efforts to Stop the War from Spreading
Secretary Blinken, who recently visited Arab states in the region, stated that leaders he met were determined to prevent the war from spreading further. He is also working to secure the release of 155 hostages, including Americans, who Israel claims were taken by Hamas back into Gaza.
Iran’s Warning to Israel
Iran, a supporter of both Hamas and Hezbollah, warned Israel of escalation if it continued its attacks on Palestinians. Iran emphasized that it could not simply be an observer in the situation.
The Egyptian Foreign Minister’s call for the opening of the Rafah border crossing highlights the urgency of providing aid to the people of Gaza. Efforts are underway to negotiate the reopening of the crossing, with the involvement of international organizations and key regional players. As the situation in Gaza remains dire, it is crucial for all parties involved to prioritize the well-being and safety of civilians and work towards a sustainable solution.