Sisi, Malaysian PM urge avoiding further Israeli army actions in Gaza to avert catastrophe

Ahram Online , Thursday 22 Feb 2024

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim agreed on the urgency of avoiding the gravity of any additional military movement that would have "catastrophic consequences on the already dire humanitarian tragedy in Gaza.”

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Egypt's President Abdel-Fatah El-Sisi; Malaysia's Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim. Photo courtesy of the Egyptian Presidency

 

This convergence of views occurred during a phone call between both sides on Thursday when they were discussing the Israeli threatening to send troops into Gaza’s border city of Rafah, where around 1.4 million Palestinians have sought shelter from around the Gaza Strip.

In a brief phone interview with Bloomberg on Wednesday, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he has ordered the military to come up with a plan to move civilians and is awaiting its arrival.

Gaza’s southern city of Rafah is now the last refuge for Palestinians. Less than 300,000 people typically inhabit the city, but now – due to Israeli airstrikes and ground offensive in other parts of central and northern Gaza – it accommodates an additional 1.4 million people.

Earlier in February, Egypt stressed its complete rejection of the statements made by high-ranking officials in the Israeli government regarding the intention of Israeli forces to launch a military operation in Rafah, warning of the dire consequences of such action, particularly the risks of worsening the humanitarian catastrophe in the strip.

In a statement by Egypt’s foreign ministry, Cairo affirmed that targeting Rafah, along with Israel’s continued policy of obstructing humanitarian aid access, is tantamount to implementing the policy of displacing the Palestinian people and liquidating their cause.

Aid into Gaza & efforts to end war
 

Meanwhile, during Thursday’s phone call, the Malaysian PM was keen to confirm his country's appreciation for the pivotal role played by Egypt in leading the process of providing aid, despite the challenges it encounters. On his part, El-Sisi expressed his appreciation for Malaysia’s providing relief aid to Gaza.

Egypt has led regional and international efforts to deliver humanitarian aid to the Palestinians under siege in the strip through the Rafah, Karm Abu Salem, and Ouga border crossings with Gaza.

Moreover, Egypt has called on the international community to pressure Israel to allow for the unfettered entry of aid to the strip.

In mid-February, an Egyptian official source informed the MENA news agency that since the onset of the Israeli aggression until 2 February, the volume of humanitarian aid that entered the strip was 8,820 trucks, transporting 133,479 tons of relief aid of various kinds to Gaza. This aid comprised 5,918 trucks with 87,670 tons of food supplies, 1,192 trucks with 19,521 tons of medical supplies, and 1,710 trucks with 26,287 tons of relief materials.

The number of Egyptian trucks that entered the strip has reached 2,944 carrying 49,751 tons, in addition to 1,302 carrying 18,61 tons from other countries and 4,574 carrying 65,406 tons from international organizations.

Additionally, Ibrahim stressed his country's support for Egypt's intensified efforts to end the war, protect the lives of Palestinians, and promote peace in the region.

Both sides affirmed the importance of the international community fulfilling its legal, humanitarian, and political responsibilities to seriously push for an immediate ceasefire and activate the two-state solution, as this will help avoid escalating tensions and expanding conflict in the region.

 

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