Egypt denies Israeli allegations at ICJ

Ahram Online , Friday 12 Jan 2024

Chairman of State Information Service (SIS) Diaa Rashwan has denied the allegations and lies brought by the Israeli defence team at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that Egypt is responsible for preventing the entry of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing.

The logo of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague on 12 January, 2024, prior to the hearing of the genocide case against Israel, brought by South Africa. AFP


Rashwan said that all Israeli officials – including the prime minister and the defence and energy ministers – have confirmed dozens of times in public remarks that “they will not allow the aid to enter Gaza, especially fuel because this is part of the war their state is waging against the strip.”

Having found itself accused with documented evidence of war and genocidal crimes before the ICJ, Israel resorted to “throwing accusations at Egypt in an attempt to escape its likely condemnation by the court,” Rashwan said in a statement on Friday.

“Egypt’s sovereignty extends only to the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing, while the other side of it in Gaza is subject to the actual occupation authority,” the statement quoted Rashwan as saying.

Egypt, on more than one occasion, has emphasized that "the Rafah crossing from the Egyptian side is open without interruption" while repeatedly urging Israel "not to prevent the flow of humanitarian aid to the strip … under the pretext of inspecting them,” he added.

The aid trucks, he clarified, travel from the Egyptian side to the Karm Abu Salem crossing – which connects the Gaza Strip and the Israeli territory – to be inspected firstly by the Israeli army before being allowed to enter the Gaza Strip.

He revealed that amid the Israeli policy, Egypt ordered the Egyptian trucks to enter, after the inspection process by the Israeli side at Karm Abu Salem, directly into Gaza to distribute aid to its residents instead of transferring them to Palestinian trucks to do so, he further said.

Rashwan also said that Israel controls the quantities of aid entering Gaza, and that is why US President Joe Biden asked Israel to open the Karm Abu Salem crossing to facilitate the entry of aid.

According to the SIS chief, humanitarian truce negotiations that ended with a weeklong ceasefire in November under Egyptian-Qatari-American mediation “witnessed extreme intransigence from the Israeli side in determining the amount of aid it would allow into the Strip” given the fact that it controls the strip militarily.

Rashwan noted that a host of high-ranking international officials, including the UN Secretary-General, has already visited the Rafah border crossing on the Egyptian side. 

However, none of them was able to cross into the Palestinian strip because either the Israeli army prevented them or because they feared for their safety amid the ongoing Israeli bombing of the strip, he underscored.

Rashwan demanded Israel to open – even for trade – its six crossings with Gaza if it has a genuine desire to allow the delivery of food and medical supplies to the Palestinians.

“If Israel wants food, medical supplies, and fuel to enter the Gaza Strip, it has six crossings from its territory with the Gaza Strip, which it must open immediately for trade and not for the entry of aid,” read the statement.

In 2022, Palestinian imports from Israel were $4.7 billion.

Early Friday, the ICJ wrapped up the two-day hearing into South Africa's lawsuit that accuses Israel of genocide in its war on Gaza, with Israel rejecting the accusations and justifying its violence as a response to the 7 October operation carried out by Hamas.

Israeli brutal war on the Gaza Strip, now on its 98th day, killed more than 23,000 Palestinians, most of whom are women and children, and wounded over 59,000.


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