Egypt racing against time to secure immediate ceasefire in Gaza: Deputy director of ECSS

Ahram Online , Friday 22 Mar 2024

Egypt is racing against time to reach an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in the six-month-long war in Gaza, stated Mohamed Ibrahim Eldawiry, Deputy Director of the Egyptian Center for Strategic Studies (ECSS).

Mohamed Ibrahim Eldawiry, Deputy Director of the Egyptian
Mohamed Ibrahim Eldawiry, Deputy Director of the Egyptian Center for Strategic Studies (ECSS)


In statements to the Middle East News Agency (MENA), Eldawiry called for a more decisive stance from the United States to pressure Israel and secure a ceasefire within the next few days.

He expressed hope for a tangible shift in the US position after the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken's ongoing sixth visit to the Middle East since the Gaza war began.

Eldawiry said Egypt and the US share a common perspective on rejecting the forced displacement of Palestinians; Washington’s commitment to working with Egypt to promote regional peace and stability; establishing an independent Palestinian state while providing security guarantees to Israel; and opposing the planned Israeli operation in Rafah.

On Thursday, Secretary Blinken discussed the situation in Gaza with President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi during their meeting in Cairo.

During the meeting, President El-Sisi reiterated to Blinken Egypt's warning against the dangerous consequences of any Israeli military ground operation in the Palestinian city of Rafah.

El-Sisi also reiterated to the top US diplomat his call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

The Egyptian president told Blinken that innocent civilians in Gaza are being exposed to a humanitarian catastrophe and famine.

El-Sisi stressed to Blinken the necessity of urgent action to allow sufficient quantities of humanitarian aid into the strip.

Arab pressure on US

Eldawiry also highlighted the importance of Egypt's hosting of an Arab foreign ministers meeting in Cairo on Thursday to address the unprecedented catastrophic situation in Gaza resulting from the Israeli war on the strip.

The meeting involved the foreign ministers of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, and the UAE, in addition to a representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

In their subsequent meeting with Blinken later on Thursday, the Arab officials sent a set of clear messages to the top US diplomat on the principles required to resolve the Gaza crisis.

First, all efforts must prioritize reaching a comprehensive and immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

Second, more efforts are needed to intensify the entry of humanitarian aid to the strip. This requires opening all crossings between Israel and Gaza to confront the humanitarian catastrophe and famine to which the residents of the strip are exposed.

Eldawiry added that the Arab officials stressed to Blinken the importance of providing full support to UNRWA, rejecting all Israeli attempts to displace the Palestinians from their lands or liquidate the Palestinian cause, and opposing any Israeli military operation in the Palestinian city of Rafah.

He said the famine facing Gaza will remain a "stain of shame" on the international community.

Egypt puts pressure on Israel

Eldawiry stressed that the efforts made by Egypt at all levels put pressure on Israel to respond to the regional and international positions demanding a ceasefire in the Gaza war.

He added that the current situation requires a stronger and more decisive US position - beyond mere strong statements -  to pressure Israel to commit to reaching a humanitarian truce within a few days.

Egyptian negotiators have been working round the clock for weeks with mediators from Qatar and the US to secure a ceasefire in the Gaza war.

Since the start of the war, Egypt has spearheaded regional and international efforts to deliver aid to the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza and other crossings to the strip.

Egypt has repeatedly declared its categorical rejection of any Israeli forcible displacement of the Palestinians in Gaza or any Israeli ground operation in Rafah in the southern strip, where more than 1.5 million people - mostly displaced from other parts of Gaza - are desperately crowded.

The Israeli war on Gaza has killed more than 32,000 Palestinians and injured almost 75,000; destroyed a majority of homes and infrastructure in the strip, and left the majority of the 2.4 million civilian population on the brink of famine.

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