Egypt unwaveringly supports Palestinian rights despite mediation uncertainty: SIS chief to Sky News

Radwa ElSayed Hani , Thursday 23 May 2024

Diaa Rashwan, head of the State Information Service (SIS), asserted on Thursday that Egypt's potential withdrawal from mediation efforts will not diminish its unwavering support for the rights of the Palestinian people.

Head of State Information Service (SIS) Diaa Rashwan
Head of State Information Service (SIS) Diaa Rashwan


In an interview with Sky News TV channel, Rashwan said Israel provoked Egypt by accusing Cairo of supplying weapons to the resistance and closing the Rafah border crossing.

"Israel repeated these accusations at the International Criminal Court," he noted, adding that Tel Aviv's accusations are part of Israel's efforts to displace Palestinians.

Rashwan pointed out that the continuous campaigns against Egypt and the claims that it has changed the draft of the truce deal between Palestinians and Israelis might eventually lead Cairo to withdraw from a mediation process that was initially instigated at the behest of the US and Israel.

On Tuesday, a CNN report claimed that Egypt had changed the terms of a Gaza ceasefire deal that Israel had already signed off on before submitting it to Hamas, surprising negotiators.

"The Egyptian intelligence quietly changed the terms of a ceasefire proposal that Israel had already signed off on earlier this month," CNN's report alleged, citing "three people familiar with the discussions."

According to CNN, the ceasefire deal that Hamas announced that it agreed to on 6 May was not what the Qatari or the American mediators believed had been submitted to Hamas.

Following this, the SIS chief said that the CNN report is baseless and lacks factual information, emphasising that the report does not rely on credible journalistic sources, thus violating globally recognised professional journalistic standards.

He urged CNN and all international media to verify the accuracy of what they publish on such sensitive issues and to avoid basing their reports on anonymous sources referred to as "informed sources."

Moreover, a high-level Egyptian source told Al-Qahera News TV channel that allegations that Egypt is improperly carrying out its responsibilities as a mediator between Israel and Hamas undermine efforts to reach a ceasefire in Gaza.

"Certain parties engage in a tactic of accusing mediators of bias and blaming them to avoid taking necessary decisions," the source noted.

Rafah crossing

The SIS chief told Sky News that Israel's control over the Palestinian side of the Rafah border crossing is "unjustified."

"Cairo has clear principles regarding the crossing and refuses to legitimise Israel's control over the Palestinian side and will not cooperate with it," he emphasised.

On 7 May, Israel launched ground assaults in the Palestinian city of Rafah, moving its tanks into it and taking over the Palestinian side of the crossing between Gaza and Egypt.

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

On Tuesday, the United Nations Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) announced that it is suspending aid operations and food distribution in Rafah due to a shortage of supplies and security concerns.

UNRWA reported that "families live among rubble in damaged schools without tents, essential services, or vital supplies" and that there were no longer any safe places in Gaza

Peace efforts

Rashwan affirmed to Sky News that Egypt has continuously safeguarded its interests and those of Palestine and has done so during all previous wars in Gaza.

"Israel's widespread aggression has destabilised the entire region, causing Egypt to fear for regional stability due to this escalation," he said.

Furthermore, the head of SIS affirmed that Cairo seeks peace but is also committed to ensuring its national security and preventing the liquidation of the Palestinian cause. Therefore, according to Rashwan, Egypt remains "cautious but not fearful."

Last week, Egypt's Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry said that Cairo's stance on its peace treaty with Israel is linked to how events develop and Egyptian interests.

He emphasised that Egypt has constantly demanded the end of Israel’s military operation in Gaza and allowing humanitarian aid to flow unhindered into the strip.

Egypt, which shares a border with Rafah, and Qatar, which hosts Hamas political leaders, have been at the forefront of ceasefire negotiations since the outbreak of the war in Gaza.

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