Israel, as occupying power, must ensure humanitarian access to Gaza: Shoukry to UN Gaza coordinator

Ahram Online , Saturday 18 May 2024

Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry has stressed the necessity for Israel to comply with its obligations as the occupying power in the Palestinian territories and open all land crossings between Israel and Gaza allowing full and safe delivery of humanitarian aid.

Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry   United Nations Senior Humanitarian and Reconstr
Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry (L), United Nations Senior Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator for Gaza Sigrid Kaag (R). Photo:

Shoukry made his remarks during a phone call on Friday with the United Nations' Senior Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator for Gaza, Sigrid Kaag.

Shoukry called for Israel to respect and protect humanitarian personnel in Gaza and refrain from targeting the headquarters of international relief agencies operating in the besieged strip.

Egypt's top diplomat also called on Israel to ensure freedom of movement for relief crews within the strip, according to a statement released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

During the call, both sides addressed the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, underscoring the urgency of providing a secure environment for humanitarian workers to receive and distribute humanitarian aid to the residents of Gaza.

Furthermore, the UN official briefed Shoukry on the current situation regarding the operation of the mechanism established under the UN Security Council Resolution (2720) to facilitate, coordinate and monitor the provision of humanitarian aid to Gaza. 

The call also discussed the dangers posed by the Israeli military operations in the Palestinian border city of Rafah and Israel’s control over the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza.

Shoukry and Kaag called on Israel to cease its military operations in Rafah, which began on 7 May.

Since the outbreak of the war, the Rafah border crossing has served as the main pathway for thousands of humanitarian aid trucks delivering life-saving aid from Egypt, other countries, and relief agencies.

Egypt has also facilitated the evacuation of tens of thousands of dual passport holders, Egyptians, and seriously injured individuals from Gaza over the past months.

The recent Israeli capture of the Palestinian side of the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt has allowed Israel control over the entry and exit of people and goods through the crossing for the first time since the withdrawal of its soldiers and settlers from the strip in 2005.

Cairo has condemned the Israeli aggression against the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing, warning that Tel Aviv was evading all attempts to reach a ceasefire and escalating an already bloody conflict.

Since the start of the Israeli war on Gaza on 7 October, Egypt has been pushing for a lasting ceasefire between Israel and Hamas and facilitating sustained access to humanitarian aid to the strip to alleviate the suffering of 2.3 million civilians.

For over seven months, Israel, which faces growing international pressure to agree to a ceasefire in Gaza, has continued its brutal war, killing 35,303 and wounding 79,261, most of whom are women and children.

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