Egypt's Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry speaking during the Paris conference on humanitarian aid for Gaza on Thursday, 9 November 2023 (Photo: the Egyptian foreign ministry)
"What the Israeli government is doing far exceeds the right to self-defence," Egypt's foreign minister Sameh Shoukry told the conference hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron.
Shoukry railed at what he described as an "imbalance in the international conscience."
He also expressed Egypt’s rejection of the double standards that some countries apply concerning the ongoing war, affirming that the human soul is the same everywhere.
Egypt has adopted a clear stance since the eruption of the Gaza war, condemning the targeting of all civilians from both sides, Shoukry pointed out.
He added that the time had come to "call things by their names and hold everyone who committed these shameful practices accountable."
The Israeli onslaught on Gaza, which is now entering its 34th day, has killed 10,560 people, including 4,324 children and 2,823 women, and wounded over 25,000 others.
Israel has blockaded the strip and cut off all food, water, power, and fuel supplies while creating hurdles delaying the arrival of humanitarian aid to the Palestinian strip. It also displaced over one million Palestinians from their homes.
Egypt’s top diplomat called on the international community to end the catastrophe endured by 2.5 million Palestinians in Gaza, who are living without shelter, food, water, electricity, fuel, or facilities due to the ongoing Israeli bombing and blockade.
The Egyptian people alone have provided -- through civil society organizations and the Egyptian government -- about 5,400 tons of humanitarian aid. Meanwhile, the aid provided by all members of the international community did not exceed this amount, Shoukry affirmed.
The amount of aid that has so far entered the besieged strip does not meet the needs of the Palestinians, Shoukry stressed. He also decried "the deliberate and complex measures” that Israel imposes on aid convoys.
These measures “only exacerbate the deteriorating conditions in the Strip and raise doubts about its goals,” Shoukry added.
He reiterated Egypt’s call for an immediate and sustainable ceasefire and its condemnation of "all practices that aim to impose a new fait accompli to force Palestinians to be … forcibly displaced from their land."
The number of displaced people in Gaza has reached two-thirds of its population, Shoukry told the conference, stressing that such displacement constitutes another grave violation of international humanitarian law.
He also asserted that the crisis in Gaza proves that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only be settled based on the two-state solution.
However, he said paying lip service to the two-state solution without taking effective measures to achieve it is not enough.
Shoukry warned that reluctance to stop the current bloodshed is tantamount to sharing responsibility for the violations of international law and the crimes against humanity happening in Gaza.
He also emphasized that the current escalation did not happen in a vacuum, highlighting the Israeli occupation’s policies and practices of annexing lands, demolishing homes, working to separate the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and ignoring Palestinian rights for more than 70 years.
Shoukry finally urged a concerted international effort to end this situation and settle the conflict based on the two-state solution.