Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-El-Sisi on Thursday said that the people of Gaza must “stay steadfast and remain on their land” despite international appeals for Cairo to facilitate safe passage for civilians who are currently trapped in Gaza.
It’s worth noting that the Rafah border crossing, situated between Egypt and Gaza, is the sole point of entry and exit for the Gaza Strip that is not under Israeli control.
The head of State noted that Egypt is committed to ensuring the delivery “of aid, both medical and humanitarian at this difficult time”, adding that Cairo’s position remains firm with regard to ensuring Palestinians’ “legitimate rights”.
He nonetheless pointed out that Gazans must “stay steadfast and remain on their land”.
The small coastal enclave, inhabited by 2.4 million people and subjected to a blockade since 2007, is now facing a horrendous siege by “Israel” that has recently cut off crucial resources like water, food, and electricity.
After six days of continuous Israeli airstrikes, entire neighborhoods have been reduced to rubble and the death toll has now risen to more than 1,400.
Egypt has traditionally played a pivotal role as a mediator between Hamas and “Israel.” Cairo has requested that humanitarian aid destined for Gaza be directed to El Arish airport. However, Egypt has resisted the calls to permit Palestinians seeking refuge to enter its territory.
In the past few days, local reports cited authoritative security sources cautioning against a large-scale departure of Palestinians who were being “forced to choose between death under Israeli bombing or displacement from their land”.
Egypt has advocated for a diplomatic resolution and has urged both parties to exercise restraint, while El-Sisi has emphasized that his country’s paramount duty is safeguarding its national security.
On Thursday, El-Sisi mentioned that Egypt is already providing safety and security to “nine million guests, as I call them, from many countries who came to Egypt for security and safety”.
But he mentioned that the situation of Gazans “is different” as their displacement would signify “the elimination of the (Palestinian) cause”.
In 1979, Egypt became the first Arab nation to establish diplomatic relations with “Israel,” following a six-year war that concluded in 1973.
CNN reported on Wednesday, citing a senior Israeli official, that negotiations are underway to allow US citizens and Palestinian civilians to leave the Gaza Strip for Egypt before the Israeli occupation forces carry out a military ground operation.
According to the broadcaster, the proposal suggests that US citizens will have the option to cross through the Rafah border crossing upon presenting a US passport.
The news was later confirmed by White House Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby during a press conference at the White House.
Moreover, it is reported that the daily limit for Palestinian civilians departing the Gaza Strip will be capped at 2,000 individuals.