Israel solely responsible for closure of Rafah crossing in Gaza: Egypt

Egypt rejects Israel's policy of ‘distorting facts and evading responsibility,' Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry says

13:29 - 15/05/2024 Wednesday
File photo
File photo

Egypt blamed Israel on Tuesday for the closure of the Rafah border crossing in the southern Gaza Strip amid a military offensive in the area.

“Israel is solely responsible for the humanitarian catastrophe facing Palestinians in the Gaza Strip,” the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz called early Tuesday for reopening the Rafah crossing, blaming Egypt for preventing the delivery of aid into Gaza.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry rejects Israel's policy of “distorting facts and evading responsibility,” the statement said.

Shoukry considered “Israeli control over the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing, military operations in the vicinity of the terminal, and their resulting dangers to relief workers and truck drivers” as the main reasons for the failure to bring aid through the Rafah crossing.

He also strongly denounced “Israeli attempts to desperately shift responsibility onto Egypt for the unprecedented humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.”

Last week, Israel captured the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing, a vital route for humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip, which has been under a crippling Israeli blockade since last October, leaving the territory's entire population on the verge of starvation.

Israel has pounded the Palestinian enclave following a cross-border attack by Hamas on Oct. 7, 2023, which killed about 1,200 people.

At least 35,180 Palestinians, most of them women and children, have since been killed, and over 79,000 others injured, according to Palestinian health authorities.

More than seven months into the conflict, vast swathes of Gaza lay in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January said it is "plausible" that Tel Aviv is committing genocide in Gaza, ordering it to stop such acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

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