Egyptian NGO volunteers protest at Rafah border crossing, opposing Palestinian relocation to Sinai and calling for humanitarian aid to reach Gaza. Photo courtesy of Decent Life Foundation.
The sit-in came in response to President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi's call for protest during a press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz held at the Presidential Palace earlier on Wednesday.
El-Sisi reiterated Egypt’s unwavering support for the two-state solution and the Palestinian people’s right to stay in their homeland, rather than forcible displacement to Sinai.
The Decent Life Initiative, launched in 2021, expressed its "full support" for the president's decision and announced a sit-in in front of the Rafah border crossing until it is opened to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza.
Their statement also called on the Egyptian people to "not hesitate to support the Palestinian cause with all forms of solidarity."
It also said that the Palestinian cause is at the forefront of the priorities of Egyptian society and the Arab conscience.
On Tuesday, Rafah received around 3,000 tons of food and medical aid from various Egyptian NGOs and entities for delivery to Gaza.
Decent Life and the NACDW are among those who participated in preparing the aid.
However, the trucks remained stranded in El-Arish, North Sinai, about 50 km away from Rafah due to Israel’s repeated strikes on the Rafah border crossing.
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said in a CNN interview on Wednesday that Rafah "has been bombed 4 times" and sustained “severe damage.”
Israel has allowed no possibility of safe passage or a means to safely repair the damage that has been inflicted, Shoukry said.
The Egyptian president said that “the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip, the prevention of water, fuel, and electricity, and the hindrance of aid entering the territory all aim at transferring Palestinian citizens from the Strip to Egypt”, which Egypt rejects.
El-Sisi expressed concern that if this came to pass, Sinai would become a base for attacks against Israel, and that Israel would attack Egyptian territories in retaliation, "which threatens the peace between Israel and a country of 105 million people."
El-Sisi said that Egyptian and Arab public opinion are influenced by each other, and if necessary, he will “call upon the Egyptian people to publicly express their rejection of the idea of relocating Palestinians to Sinai.”