Egypt's Shoukry strictly rejects displacement of Palestinians from northern Gaza

Ahram Online , Wednesday 18 Oct 2023

Egypt's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sameh Shoukry, said Wednesday that Egypt rejects any displacement of Palestinians from the north of Gaza as it contravenes international law.

Egyptian Foreign Minister  Sameh Shoukry. AP
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry. AP


Shoukry said international law stipulates that the lands, homes, and properties of those living under occupation must be preserved, which explains why Palestinians must remain on their land.

He also referred to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s most recent remarks in which he called on the Palestinian people not to abandon their lands to avoid a second Nakba.

The Palestinian president understands that the Palestinian people must retain their capabilities and rights, Shoukry noted.

Rafah Crossing

The Egyptian FM also expressed Egypt's understanding of what third-country nationals -- trapped in Gaza -- are exposed to.

"However, here is another question: Israel has six crossings through which third-country nationals can leave Gaza. I do not understand why their only way out is through Egypt's only crossing, [Rafah crossing]," Shoukry added.

Egypt, he said, is ready to facilitate the exit of the trapped foreigners when the Egyptian crossing resumes functioning, noting that the crossing does not work because it was targeted four times by Israel.  

Shoukry, however, affirmed that once it resumes functioning, the Rafah border crossing will be used to evacuate third-country nationals and bring humanitarian aid to civilians.

In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, the Egyptian FM said four Egyptian workers were injured at the Rafah border crossing while trying to repair the damage.

In response to whether Egypt had any information that Israel decided to keep the crossing closed to prevent aid to Gaza, Shoukry said Egypt did not “receive any official information on the matter,” and the situation remains “perilous.”

He dismissed Israel’s denial of humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza as a blatant violation of international law, stressing that aid must be provided to 2.3 million Palestinians struggling to survive after Israel cut off food, electricity, water, and fuel supplies.

"As an occupying force, Israel has six crossings, all of which must be utilized to bring in humanitarian aid," he added.

Truck convoys stretching for miles and bearing humanitarian aid from Egypt and other countries and agencies are awaiting the opening of the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza.

These convoys will bring in direly needed aid to hundreds of thousands of civilians in Gaza, who have been besieged by Israel and left without food, water, and fuel since 7 October.   

American President Joe Biden said on Wednesday Israel would allow humanitarian assistance into Gaza from Egypt with the understanding it would be subject to inspections.

In remarks to the Al-Hadath news channel, Shoukry described the step as a positive development that Egypt has looked forward to.

Gaza Hosptial 


In his interview with Sky New Arabia, Shoukry reiterated his call for refraining from targeting civilians, stressing that shelling al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza is "painful and unjustified."

The hospital incident, he noted, resulted from Israel’s targeting of civilians and residential neighbourhoods, causing the death of 3,000 victims, a third of whom are children.

“This would not have happened without this ongoing conflict and this targeting [of civilians],” Shoukry said.

Hundreds of Palestinians were killed in an Israeli strike on al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza in a massacre that drew worldwide condemnation.

Gaza Summit


Shoukry said Egypt's call for a summit on Gaza reflects the seriousness of the situation, revealing that several heads of state and government confirmed their attendance. 

He said the event aims to de-escalate the situation in Gaza, reach a ceasefire, and solve the decades-old conflict through the two-state solution.

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