‘Our humanity is at stake’

Doaa El-Bey , Thursday 13 Jun 2024

Egypt’s efforts to end the war in Gaza continue in the face of Israel’s determination to slaughter ever greater numbers of innocent civilians.

 Our humanity is at stake


Continuing its efforts to end the war in Gaza and deal with the pressing humanitarian situation, Egypt welcomed the UN Security Council’s passing of its first resolution endorsing a ceasefire plan.

“While the US promoted deal is a welcome step, unless Israel is willing to withdraw from Gaza the resolution will fail like previous attempts to end the war,” said a diplomat who talked on condition of anonymity. “Hamas is willing to accept any deal that meets its core demand for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza and the complete withdrawal of Israeli troops.”

Cairo also participated in the Call for Action: Urgent Humanitarian Response for Gaza Conference in Jordan, and during his latest visit to the region US Secretary of States Antony Blinken met with President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi.

In his address to the conference which Jordan co-hosted with the UN and Egypt, President Al-Sisi underlined the urgent need for an immediate, comprehensive, and sustainable ceasefire.

“The responsibility of the unprecedented humanitarian crisis that Gaza is witnessing lies directly with Israel and is the result of a vengeful and destructive war against the Strip, its people, infrastructure and health system,” he said.

Jordan’s King Abdullah told the conference that humanitarian access to the Gaza Strip cannot wait for a ceasefire and cannot be held hostage to political agendas.

 “Today we stand at a critical turning point in human history. Our common conscience is being tested by the disaster at Gaza. Our very humanity is at stake,” King Abdullah told participants.

The conference was attended by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Blinken, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Moroccan Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch, Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides, and the President of Mozambique Filipe Jacinto Nyusi.

It aimed to outline ways to boost the response of the international community to the humanitarian disaster in Gaza, and coordinate ways to address the situation.

Blinken also visited Egypt where he heard President Al-Sisi underline the urgency of ending the Israeli war and prevent the conflict from expanding.

Blinken’s tour, the eighth since the start of the war, aimed to push forward US President Joe Biden’s ceasefire proposal first presented two weeks ago. The three-phase proposal starts with a six-week ceasefire that would see Israeli forces withdraw from all populated areas of Gaza and Hamas free hostages. The period will then be extended as negotiators seek a permanent end to the war.

The proposal also includes provisions for the “safe and effective distribution of humanitarian assistance to all Palestinian civilians who need it.”

Commentators say the latest Israeli massacre in Gaza has made Blinken’s task all but impossible.

Blinken’s regional tour included Israel, Jordan, and Qatar. During a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he said that world leaders stood behind President Biden’s comprehensive proposal, according to a statement from the US State Department.

While Netanyahu has shown no indication of abandoning his aim to continue the war, on Monday Hamas said that it welcomed the Security Council vote endorsing the “US-drafted resolution supporting a ceasefire plan in Gaza”.

The group expressed “readiness to cooperate with brother mediators to enter into indirect negotiations regarding the implementation of these principles”, including a permanent ceasefire and complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza.

Reut Shapir Ben-Naftaly, Israeli representative to the UN, said Tel Aviv would continue military operations in Gaza and would not take part in “meaningless” talks with Hamas.

Meanwhile, Egypt is continuing with its efforts to end the war. During this week’s BRICS meeting in Russia, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri condemned the Israel’s latest indiscriminate killing of innocent Palestinian civilians and reiterated calls for an immediate and sustainable ceasefire and the sustainable delivery of humanitarian aid. He also repeated Egypt’s rejection of any attempt to displace, expel or transfer the Palestinian people from their land.

Israel’s brutal war on Gaza, which has entered its ninth month, has killed 36,654 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and wounded 83,309 others. The UN says an estimated 1.7 million people have been displaced. Tel Aviv has also created a famine in Gaza by denying entry to food convoys, medical supplies and other essential supplies.

* A version of this article appears in print in the 13 June, 2024 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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