We must not allow a civilian exodus from Gaza to Sinai - this could end the Palestinian cause: Sisi tells Sunak

Ahram Online , Friday 20 Oct 2023

In televised statements during a meeting with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in Cairo on Friday, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said: "We appreciate your understanding that we must not allow a civilian exodus from Gaza to Sinai because it would be a very dangerous matter that could end the Palestinian Cause and we are keen that it will not happen"

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during their meeting in Cairo on Friday 20 October, 2023. Photo courtesy Egyptian Presidential spokesman.


"We must join forces to contain the developments in the region which might spiral out of control. The consequences [of these developments] go beyond the right to defend oneself," El-Sisi told Sunak.

“We register our appreciation for the efforts of President Biden and you to convince Israel to allow for the opening of Rafah border crossing so we can repair the damage that was caused by the bombing that took place in the past days and allow for delivering aid to the strip," the Egyptian president noted.

"I stress the importance of delivering aid in a continuous and sustained way to the Gaza Strip, including food, medical supplies, and other forms of humanitarian aid to help 2.3 million Palestinians in the strip."

"Prime Minister, we need very much to intensify cooperation to prevent the region from sliding into a region-wide war that would have a destructive impact on the whole region and peace in the region," El-Sisi stressed.

Sunak commends Egypt's role

From his side, addressing President El-Sisi, PM Sunak said "We commended you for what you have done on the Rafah crossing and we believe very strongly in providing extra humanitarian aid to Gaza."

"We look forward to playing an important role with Egypt to make sure that aid gets to people as soon as possible," stressed Sunak.

Since the start of the Israel war on Gaza in the aftermath of the Hamas attack on Israel on 7 October, President El-Sisi has repeatedly stressed Egypt's rejection of the Israeli policies of collective punishment against the civilian population in the strip and any attempt to displace the residents of Gaza to the Sinai Peninsula.

"I share with a vision of the Palestinian people where they can live with security and opportunity," added Sunak.

“What Hamas did was an appalling act of terrorism,” said the British prime minister.

"We mourn every innocent life that has been lost, people from every faith and every nationality," said Sunak.

He added: "The Palestinians are victims of Hamas too and that's why what we are doing on the aid side is very important."

The British PM arrived in Cairo earlier Friday coming from Saudi Arabia following a visit to Tel Aviv to demonstrate solidarity with Israel.

“I am in Egypt as part of wider efforts to prevent the spread of violence following the Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel,” said Sunak on his social media accounts.

"All leaders must work together to avoid any regional escalation and ensure humanitarian aid reaches civilians in Gaza," he added.

“The UK stands ready to help,” Sunak said.

Aid to Gaza still waiting

Egypt has organized urgent relief for the Palestinians in Gaza with tens of trucks carrying humanitarian aid, donated by Egypt and various Arab countries, ready to cross the Rafah border crossing with Gaza to deliver food and medicine.

However, Israel has refused to allow aid to enter the besieged Gaza Strip.

United Nations and international humanitarian organizations describe the humanitarian situation for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip as nothing short of catastrophic.

Egypt has condemned the Israeli policies of collective punishment in the aftermath of Hamas attacks on Israel on 7 October and rejected attempts to displace Gazans to the Sinai Peninsula.

Israeli round-the-clock air strikes on Gaza have killed more than 4,000 civilians and injured 13,000 more for two weeks.

Israeli airstrikes have destroyed hundreds of homes and buildings in the strip, leaving more than one million Palestinians homeless.

In the last 72 hours, Israeli airstrikes hit the Al-Ahly Arab Baptist Hospital, a UNRWA school, and the Greek Orthodox Saint Porphyrius Church in Gaza.

Meanwhile, Palestinians in Gaza are facing the imminent threat of an Israeli ground invasion after the Israeli war cabinet green-lighted the move on Thursday.

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