update deskIsrael at War

Israeli FM: Egypt key to preventing Gaza humanitarian crisis

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz has spoken with his British and German counterparts "about the need to persuade Egypt to reopen the Rafah Crossing."

Israeli tanks roll up to the Gaza side of the Rafah Crossing, May 7, 2024. Credit: IDF.
Israeli tanks roll up to the Gaza side of the Rafah Crossing, May 7, 2024. Credit: IDF.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz on Tuesday placed the responsibility for averting a humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip squarely on the shoulders of Egypt.

Katz said he had spoken with his British and German counterparts “about the need to persuade Egypt to reopen the Rafah Crossing to allow the continued delivery of international humanitarian aid to Gaza.”

While the world places the responsibility for Gaza’s humanitarian situation on Israel, he added, “the key to preventing a humanitarian crisis in Gaza is now in the hands of our Egyptian friends.”

The Israel Defense Forces took control of the Gaza side of the Rafah Crossing with Egypt last week.

A day earlier, Israel’s War Cabinet decided unanimously to “continue the operation in Rafah to exert military pressure on Hamas in order to promote the release of our hostages and the other goals of the war.”

However, Cairo is now refusing to coordinate with Israel to allow aid to pass through the crossing from Sinai, according to an Egyptian report.

The Israeli government wants to allow aid into Gaza through Rafah but is unable to do so without Egyptian cooperation.

The Rafah operation, which Israel estimates will last around two months, is being carried out in phases as opposed to a full-scale invasion. The phased nature of the operation allows for it to be paused should a hostage release deal be reached between Israel and Hamas.

The Biden administration last week announced the halt of some arms shipments to Israel over the activity in Gaza’s southernmost city.

However, Katz emphasized on Tuesday that Hamas cannot be allowed to control the crossing. “This is a security necessity on which we will not compromise,” he said.

Most of Hamas’s weaponry and supplies enter the Strip via tunnels running under the Egypt-Gaza border.

Egypt has reportedly threatened to suspend its 45-year-old peace treaty with the Jewish state if Israel further expands its offensive against Hamas in the city, and has lodged formal protests with the United States and European governments.

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