Blinken: Israeli military operation near Rafah crossing poses challenges for aid delivery



Fri, 24 May 2024 - 01:33 GMT


Fri, 24 May 2024 - 01:33 GMT

A file photo of the Rafah crossing - WAFA

A file photo of the Rafah crossing - WAFA

CAIRO – 24 May 2024: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that Israeli military operations near the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza have made the delivery of humanitarian assistance challenging, according to Reuters.

During a hearing in the House of Representatives this week, Blinken urged Egypt to "do everything that they can on their end of things to make sure the assistance is flowing," despite the difficulties caused by Israeli operations.

The Rafah crossing from the Palestinian side has been closed since Israel intensified its military operations in Gaza, including sending ground troops to Rafah city and capturing the crossing on May 7, a move that Egypt has condemned.

Sources from Egypt have stated that Cairo refuses to coordinate with Israel on aid delivery, as such coordination would imply acceptance of Israeli military presence at the crossing.

The US and Israel have been pressuring Egypt to allow aid to be delivered through the Rafah crossing.

Israeli sources have expressed concerns that the failure to deliver sufficient aid to Gaza may impede Israeli operations in Rafah.

Israel has been escalating its attacks in Rafah, which is located near the Egyptian border, despite Egypt's condemnation.

Diaa Rashwan, the head of the State Information Service (SIS), warned that an operation in Rafah will not succeed in bringing Israeli captives back home alive and may jeopardize the 1979 peace treaty with Israel.

The Rafah crossing used to serve as the primary entry point for humanitarian aid to Gaza. Egypt has repeatedly accused Tel Aviv of obstructing aid deliveries and has warned of an imminent famine.

With the closure of the border, the situation has worsened, with increasing hunger among the 2.3 million people in the strip.

On Tuesday, the United Nations suspended food distribution operations in Rafah city due to a lack of supplies and a disrupted security situation caused by Israeli military operations, as reported by AP.

Israel playing blame game

A week after the closure of the crossing, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz called on Egypt to reopen the crossing and stated that Cairo bears responsibility for preventing a humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry slammed these remarks and held Israel accountable for the humanitarian catastrophe faced by Palestinians in Gaza.

Shoukry emphasized that Israeli control over the Palestinian side of the crossing, coupled with military operations endangering the lives of humanitarian workers and truck drivers, remains the primary obstacle hindering aid delivery.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Egyptian officials have stated that Cairo is considering downgrading its diplomatic relations with Israel, including the potential withdrawal of the Egyptian ambassador from Tel Aviv, amidst the Israeli moves in Rafah.

The war in Gaza has resulted in one of the world's most severe humanitarian crises, with the majority of the population displaced, infrastructure damaged, and the strip on the verge of famine.

Since October 7, the Israeli war has killed over 35,000 Palestinian lives and injured more than 79,000 others.



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