Informed sources told the Wall Street Journal that Cairo reportedly sent warnings to “Israel” regarding their diplomatic relations – that these may cease in case the Israeli forces launches a full-scale invasion of the city of Rafah, which the regime has pledged to carry out earlier this month.
“Any ground operation in Rafah would lead to an immediate suspension of the peace treaty between the two countries,” the report says, citing the sources.
The officials told WSJ that a delegation from Cairo recently paid a visit to Israeli counterparts in “Tel Aviv” to specifically discuss the situation in Rafah.
“Israeli officials are trying to get Egypt to agree on some cooperation regarding the ground invasion, which Egyptian officials are resisting,” the officials said.
According to Egyptian sources, Egypt has been redeploying several M60A3 Patton main battle tanks and YPR-765 infantry fighting vehicles in the vicinity of the Rafah border crossing in recent days.
Read more: El-Sisi turns down Netanyahu call amid tensions over Philadelphi axis
The “Philadelphi Axis” is a region that extends from the Israeli-controlled Karam Abu Salem crossing, linking the Gaza Strip and occupied territories, to the southernmost point on the Gaza Strip’s coast.
Also known as the “Philadelphi Route”, the 14 km narrow strip of land separated Palestine from Egypt and was established as a buffer zone between “Israel” and Egypt in a 1979 treaty.
Israeli authorities seek to completely isolate the Gaza Strip from the rest of the world by deploying forces in the only terrain linking the Palestinian territory to another country.
Before the Strip was liberated in 2005, the Axis was under the control of Israeli occupation forces.
Israeli control over ‘Philadelphi Axis’ threatens relations
In January, the head of the Egyptian Information Service Diaa Rashwan confirmed that Israeli attempts to control the Philadelphi axis poses a grave threat to Egyptian-Israeli relations.
In a statement on the State Information Service (SIS) website, Rashwan said that “the recent period has seen numerous statements from Israeli officials, particularly Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, making claims and false accusations regarding the alleged smuggling operations of weapons, explosives, ammunition, and other components into the Gaza Strip from Egyptian territory.
He further emphasized the Israeli persistence in promoting these falsehoods is an effort to justify its intent to seize control of the “Philadelphi Axis” or the Salah al-Din Corridor within the Gaza Strip along the border with Egypt. “This action constitutes a breach of the security agreements and protocols previously signed between him and Egypt.”
Rashwan stressed that “It must be strictly emphasized that any Israeli move in this direction will seriously threaten Egyptian-Israeli relations.”