Israel and Egypt trade blame as humanitarian aid for Gaza blocked at crucial Rafah crossing

Staff Writers
Reuters
2 Min Read
Egypt has accused Israel of being responsible for the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. (EPA PHOTO)
Egypt has accused Israel of being responsible for the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. (EPA PHOTO) Credit: EPA

Israel says it is up to Egypt to reopen the Rafah crossing and allow humanitarian relief into the Gaza Strip, prompting officials in Cairo to denounce what it described as “desperate attempts” to shift blame for the blockage of aid.

The Rafah crossing between Egypt and southern Gaza has been a vital route for aid to the coastal territory, where a humanitarian crisis has deepened and some people are at risk of famine.

Since Israel seized control of the crossing on May 7 as it stepped up its military campaign around Rafah, aid has accumulated on the Egyptian side of the border.

Sign up to The Nightly's newsletters.

Get the first look at the digital newspaper, curated daily stories and breaking headlines delivered to your inbox.

Email Us
By continuing you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.

“The key to preventing a humanitarian crisis in Gaza is now in the hands of our Egyptian friends,” Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz said in comments released by his office.

Katz said he had spoken with his United Kingdom and German counterparts about “the need to persuade Egypt to reopen the Rafah crossing,” adding he would also talk with Italy’s foreign minister later on Tuesday.

The Palestinian militant group Hamas, which has governed Gaza, will not “control the Rafah crossing,” Katz said, citing security concerns over which Israel “will not compromise”.

The comments drew a swift and angry response from Egypt’s foreign ministry, which said Israel was responsible for the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and that Israel’s military operations in Rafah were the main factor blocking aid.

“The foreign minister strongly denounced the desperate attempts of the Israeli side to hold Egypt responsible for the unprecedented humanitarian crisis facing the Gaza Strip,” the ministry said in a statement.

“The foreign minister called on Israel to fulfill its legal responsibility as the occupying power by allowing aid to enter through the land ports under its control.”

Egypt has said that the crossing has remained open from its side throughout the conflict that began between Israel and Hamas on October 7.

Egypt has been one of the mediators in stalled ceasefire talks between Israel and Hamas.

But its relationship with Israel has come under strain during the conflict, especially since the Israeli advance in Rafah.

The United Nations and other international aid agencies said the closing of two crossings into southern Gaza - Rafah and Israeli-controlled Kerem Shalom - had virtually cut the enclave off from outside aid.

The UN warned before those closings that Gaza was on the brink of famine.

Israel launched its current Gaza offensive following an attack on October 7 by Hamas-led gunmen who rampaged through Israeli communities near the enclave, killing 1200 people and taking more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

The Palestinian death toll in the war has surpassed 35,000, according to Gaza health officials.

Comments

Latest Edition

The front page of The Nightly for 28-05-2024

Latest Edition

Edition Edition 28 May 202428 May 2024

Shattered daughter of gunman claims police ignored her firearm pleas