Israeli response turns into collective punishment in Gaza: Sisi to Blinken

Ahram Online , Sunday 15 Oct 2023

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said on Sunday that Israel has turned its response to Hamas's attack into collective punishment against more than 2 million Palestinians.

Sisi, Blinken
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, third from left, meets with Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, right, at Al-Ittihadiya Palace in Cairo, Sunday Oct. 15, 2023. AP

El-Sisi's remarks came during a meeting in Cairo with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, part of which was aired.

The Egyptian President stressed to Blinken that the current crisis may have grave repercussions for the Middle East region and that Egypt was exerting efforts to de-escalate the situation.

“If we delay resolving this crisis, more will fall in Palestine. Approximately 12,500 Palestinians have already fallen in five rounds of the conflict. On the other hand, Israel lost 2,700 lives, 1,500 of which were lost in the recent Al-Aqsa flood operation,” El-Sisi said.

President El-Sisi added that 100,000 Palestinians and 12,000 Israelis were injured, and 2,500 Palestinian and 150 Israeli children have died.

El-Sisi also told Blinken that there was no political solution to give Palestinians hope in sight, stressing that Egypt was working to contain the situation and prevent other parties from entering the conflict.

He stressed to Blinken the importance of taking decisive action to reduce the current tension and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.

"You have said that you are a Jewish person. I am an Egyptian who grew up side by side with Jews in Egypt, and they have never been subjected to any form of oppression or persecution,” said El-Sisi, referring to Blinken’s statements in Israel.

“Unlike in Europe, Jews were never persecuted in Arab and Muslim lands whether in ancient or modern history,” said the Egyptian President.  

For his part, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said that, as a human, he believes it is essential to stand by the civilians who suffered at the hands of Hamas, noting that he came to Egypt to contemplate a solution to the crisis.


Blinken added that there are two paths to solving the Palestinian issue, the first of which involves scrutiny, cooperation, and joint action, and the second, which he called Hamas's path, leads to destruction and terror.

“Let us work together to prevent the current crisis between Israel and the Palestinians from escalating further,” he said.

Secretary Blinken stressed that the United States focuses on ending Hamas’s terrorist attacks against Israel and preventing the conflict from spreading.

The US secretary and President El-Sisi agreed on the importance of addressing the humanitarian situation in Gaza to ensure assistance reaches people who need it and keep civilians out of harm's way.

Blinken reiterated to El-Sisi the importance of facilitating the safe passage of American citizens and family members from Gaza.

As he departed Cairo to Amman, Blinken said he was confident "Rafah will be open" and that the US, the UN, Egypt, Israel and others were developing a "mechanism whereby assistance reaches those in need."

The meeting was attended by the Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and the head of the Egyptian General Intelligence Service, Abbas Kamel.

Blinken arrived in Cairo on Sunday after visiting six Arab countries to discuss the current tensions between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

He will return to Israel on Monday for a second visit.

For the ninth consecutive day, the Israeli army carried out airstrikes and artillery bombardments against the Gaza Strip, home to 2.3 million Palestinians, resulting in the loss of hundreds of Palestinian civilian lives and the displacement of hundreds of thousands.

These Israeli attacks are in response to a surprise cross-border assault initiated by Hamas on Saturday, October 7th, during which they inflicted casualties on over 1,300 Israelis and took dozens as hostages.

Over the past week, Egypt has advocated ceasing Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, protecting civilian populations, and facilitating humanitarian aid access.

Egypt's National Security Council, presided over by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, convened on Sunday to assess the escalating military situation in the Gaza Strip and vehemently opposed the Israeli policy of displacing Palestinians.

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