Egypt’s Foreign Ministry announced last week that it is enabling the passage of international humanitarian flights to Gaza via El-Arish International Airport in northern Sinai. This comes as part of an effort to offer much-needed assistance to Palestinians who are suffering due to the Israeli-imposed blockade.
Despite the difficult conditions, the Egyptian authorities pointed out that the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza remains operational, albeit damaged due to frequent Israeli bombardments. Egypt is urging Israel to cease its military activities near the border area to permit the necessary repair and rebuilding efforts. This, Egypt insists, is essential for the Rafah crossing to function effectively as a critical lifeline for the Palestinian community.
Egypt’s Role in Mitigating Israel-Gaza Crisis Amid Rising Tensions
Israel’s military actions, including bombings and the severing of essential utilities like water and electricity, have put the inhabitants of the densely populated Gaza Strip in a dire situation. Lack of food, fuel, and medical supplies are among the crises the population faces. Israel defends its blockade, stating that it will continue until Hamas, the militant group in control of much of Gaza, releases hostages it has taken. Over the weekend, Hamas initiated an operation they dubbed ‘Al-Aqsa Flood,’ involving rocket attacks and commando raids into Israeli territory.Read:Chimaev Seeks Permission to Aid Palestine
Casualty numbers continue to rise on both sides. As of the latest reports, Israel has registered approximately 1,300 deaths and 3,300 injuries. In contrast, Palestinian authorities report 1,203 deaths and 5,763 injuries in Gaza since the hostilities commenced.
Egypt, which is situated adjacent to Gaza’s southern border along the Mediterranean coast, has expressed alarm over Israel’s total blockade of the area. El-Arish airport, situated about 45 kilometers away from Gaza, is prepped to receive humanitarian supplies from nations like Qatar and Jordan. However, the aid will not be forwarded until safe passageways for its delivery are in place, according to Egyptian security sources cited by Reuters.
In a recent press briefing, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry condemned any actions that put civilians at risk, stating that such actions are fundamentally at odds with international and humanitarian law.
The Israel-Palestine conflict, rooted in disputes over land, has been a long-standing issue causing global tension. A UN resolution in 1947, supported by the USSR, had proposed the establishment of both Israel and Palestine as separate states, but only Israel was actually formed.Read:Israel Announces Complete Gaza Disengagement
As a neighboring country, Egypt has often been instrumental in trying to broker peace between Israel and Palestine. Earlier this week, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi expressed hopes for a negotiated solution that could lead to a just peace and the formation of a Palestinian state.