Egypt reiterates call for Gaza ceasefire following US veto, warns of Israel’s Rafah offensive

Ahram Online , Wednesday 21 Feb 2024

Egypt has reiterated its call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza after the US vetoed a UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution drafted by Algeria, warning of the catastrophic dangers of Israel’s declared plans to attack Rafah.

Palestinians clean-up after an Israeli strike on a residential building in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2024. Photo: AP


The statements were made by Osama Abdel-Khalek, Egypt’s permanent representative to the UN, during the UNSC session on Tuesday.

Although 13 members of the UNSC have voted for the Algerian-drafted resolution, fully backed by the Arab and Islamic groups at the UN, “this morning witnessed yet another glaring example of double standards as the American delegation, for the third time, obstructed the UNSC attempt to issue a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza,” Abdel-Khalek said.

In his speech, Ambassador Abdel-Khalek expressed the Egyptian delegation’s “further frustration” over “the United States’ continuous hindrance to efforts directed to cease hostilities, thereby failing in its entrusted duties to maintain peace and international security.”

“Where does this American vote stand regarding the catastrophic humanitarian suffering in Gaza after 20 weeks of war? How does it go with our call for an international community based on rules, when we encounter nothing but deaf ears?” He said.

“Isn’t the UN secretary-general’s invocation of Article 99 of the UN Charter a call to action required by the UNSC? Isn't the decision of the International Court of Justice, which called for specific measures, a clarion call for an immediate ceasefire?” Abdel-Khalek wondered at the session.

The Egyptian ambassador added that the information from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the World Health Organization, and UNRWA, reflected the disastrous humanitarian situation in Gaza, especially at the borders with Egypt in Rafah.

He wondered if these facts were not sufficient to persuade the American delegation to vote for a ceasefire after 140 days of war, during which over 30,000 people, mostly women and children, have lost their lives in this unjust war on Gaza.

“As the council continues to fail in stopping the war, Egypt will continue to bear the greatest political, security, and humanitarian burden due to the crisis,” he added, stressing Egypt’s eagerness to stabilize the Middle East and its being the first Arab state to establish peace with Israel.

Abdel-Khaled affirmed Egypt’s commitment to exerting relentless efforts on all fronts to stop the bloodshed, end the war, and restore the security and stability of both Palestinians and Israelis as per international legitimacy resolutions, along with establishing an independent Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem.

Moreover, Egypt is seriously mediating with the United States, Qatar, Israel, and the Palestinian side for the swift release of detainees, captives, and Palestinian prisoners. It also works diligently for the utmost delivery of enough humanitarian aid to end the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Gaza and save the lives of the Palestinian brothers under the cruel siege of the Israeli occupation, the statement clarified.

Egypt also rejects all Israeli attempts to displace the Palestinian people or liquidate their noble cause forcibly, he affirmed.

Through its statement, Egypt appealed to the SC and all responsible international powers to save peace by immediately implementing a ceasefire.

“This will not hinder the ongoing mediation efforts but will create suitable conditions for their success,” Abdel-Khalek noted.

“Egypt’s call is simple … CEASEFIRE NOW … I hope no party misunderstands this noble message, which aims to only protect civilians without political calculations,” he stressed in both English and Arabic.

“Egypt again is warning of the catastrophic dangers that would afflict our Palestinian brothers due to the declared Israeli plans to invade Rafah and the deteriorating regional situation as a result of the continuous war,” he concluded, reiterating Egypt’s rejection of any Israeli military operation in Rafah.


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