Egypt Demands Israeli Forces Withdrawal to Reopen Rafah Border Crossing

Mon Jun 03 2024
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MADRID: Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said on Monday that the Rafah border crossing critical to aid deliveries into Gaza from Egypt cannot operate again unless Israeli forces relinquish control and hand over it back to Palestinians on the Gaza side.

Addressing a press conference in Madrid alongside his Spanish counterpart, Shoukry reiterated Egypt’s stance on the Rafah crossing, which was seized by Israel during its recent offensive in the city of Rafah. The crossing represents the only gateway to the outside world for the 2.3 million Palestinian residents of the Israeli-besieged territory.

“It is difficult for the Rafah crossing to continue operating without a Palestinian administration,” Shoukry asserted.

Tensions in the region have escalated following the death of an Egyptian soldier last week in a confrontation with Israeli forces near the border. Despite positive discussions at a recent meeting involving US, Egyptian, and Israeli officials, no agreement was reached on the reopening of the Rafah crossing. However, Egypt’s delegation signaled openness to the presence of European monitors at the border to oversee operations under Palestinian authority.

Shoukry also urged Hamas and Israel to consider the ceasefire proposal put forward by US President Joe Biden, noting positive initial responses from the Palestinian resistance group. He called for Israel’s cooperation in accepting the proposed framework for winding down the conflict in Gaza.

An aide to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday Israel had accepted the framework deal for winding down the Gaza war, but described it as flawed and in need of much more work.

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