Egypt rejects presence of Arab, int’l forces on Palestinian side of Rafah crossing: ECSS deputy director

Ahram Online , Friday 21 Jun 2024

Deputy Director of the Egyptian Centre for Strategic Studies (ECSS) Mohamed Ibrahim Eldawiry has asserted that Egypt will not accept participating or dealing with any Arab or international forces in the operation of the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing.

 Rafah crossing-  Palestinian side
People stand in front of the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing during the first hours of a four-day truce in the battles between Israel and Hamas militants, on November 24, 2023. AFP


The presence of such forces violates all previous agreements and understandings, Eldawiry clarified in remarks to the Saudi news website Al-Arabiya on Thursday.

Suggestions to the contrary, he added, are desperate and failed attempts to pressure Egypt into agreeing to something it deems unacceptable.

“What is necessary to restart operations at the Rafah crossing is for Palestinian elements to be the ones running it,” he stressed.

In early May, Israel took over the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt. This move halted the flow of humanitarian aid into the strip, which has been facing dire conditions due to the ongoing Israeli war there.

Egypt has rejected an Israeli proposal for the two countries to coordinate to control the Rafah crossing, insisting that Palestinian authorities manage the crossings, Reuters reported in mid-May.

Egypt has been demanding an immediate withdrawal of the Israeli occupation forces from the city of Rafah and the Rafah crossing.

Eldawiry said Egypt’s decision to close the crossing was a correct step to prevent Israel from imposing a fait accompli policy, which would have forced Cairo to deal with its presence at the crossing as an operating authority.

“This is impossible to accept,” he reiterated.

Israel is attempting to create an international crisis to achieve its objectives by occupying the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing, said the ECSS deputy director.

However, he emphasized that Egypt would never be coerced into dealing with this situation as if nothing had occurred.

"The illegitimate occupation is a temporary phase that must come to an end so that operations at the crossing can return under the management of the Palestinian side, as was the case before the start of this unjust war on Gaza," Eldawiry added.

Egypt, he added, remains steadfast in insisting that the main crossing between Egypt and Gaza is the Rafah crossing.


European assistance


Meanwhile, Eldawiry said it may be possible to consider the return of the European Border Assistance Mission (EUBAM) to the Rafah crossing, but only if Palestinian operating elements are present under the 2005 crossings agreement.

He further noted that Egypt believes the only viable solution is for Israel to comply with the ceasefire proposal in Gaza and completely withdraw from the strip, including the Rafah crossing and the Philadelphi corridor.

Eldawiry also pointed out that by burning and destroying large portions of the Rafah crossing, Israel revealed its malicious intentions and determination to disrupt operations at this crossing.

Israel, he affirmed, does not want to facilitate the entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza but rather obstruct it in defiance of the international community. 

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