Egypt Rebukes Israel for Collective Punishment in Palestine
Egypt is stepping up efforts to call out Israel for war crimes and denying civilians in Gaza access to humanitarian aid, water and electricity. Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, the Egyptian president, criticized Israel for exceeding its right to self-defense, describing it as a “collective punishment” for Palestine.
He highlighted the deteriorating humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip and reminded the international community of its responsibility to provide humanitarian and relief assistance.
Sisi told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that Jews in Egypt have never been subjected to any form of oppression or targeting. “And it has never happened in our region that Jews were targeted.”
Egypt on Rafah Crossing
Over the past couple of days, Egypt has been criticized for restrictions at the Rafah crossing. Egypt shut this crucial road because of Israeli bombings of Gaza in 2008, 2014 and 2021. It also imposed restrictions on the Rafah crossing because of challenges brought in by jihadists. But Palestinians have criticized the Egyptian government for essentially closing their one exit route out of Gaza.
And now in the latest Israel-Hamas war, Egypt has been pressed to open the crossing. Blinken said the Rafah crossing would reopen to allow aid in and evacuation of some foreign passport holders. However, Egypt is uncomfortable with this because it would bring about permanent resettlement of more than two million people.
Some Egyptian officials fear that Israel will forcibly displace Palestinians from their land and resettle them in Sinai. This means that the long-sought after Palestine state and movement will be lost. The Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said the crossing on the Palestinian side is now inoperable because of Israel bombings.
Palestinians Entering Egypt
Danny Ayalon, Israeli diplomat, believes the ball is with Egypt. “Cairo has to allow temporary settlement in the almost endless space in Sinai – a desert region.” Ayalon said Israel and the international community could prepare infrastructure, including tent cities for the refugees.
But Egypt doesn’t like this idea and has rejected it. Sisi said Egypt will not allow the liquidation of the Palestinian question at the expense of other parties. “There will be no lenience or squandering of Egypt’s national security under any circumstances.”
Egypt is against the termination of the Palestinian Cause via a displacement policy, establishing a Palestinian state is the only solution.