Any military operation in Rafah poses a direct threat to Egypt’s national security: Shoukry in Munich

Ahram Online , Sunday 18 Feb 2024

Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry said on Saturday that any military operation in Rafah would pose a direct threat to Egypt’s national security, adding that there is no need to escalate the situation future.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry speaks during the Munich Security Conference on Saturday 17 February, 2024. Photo courtesy of Egyptian Foreign Ministry.


"We do not need further escalation in the region," Shoukry said during a session titled "Towards Stability and Peace in the Middle East: De-escalation Challenge" at the Munich Security Conference pointing out that any military operation in Rafah would have serious repercussions.

He emphasized the necessity of avoiding dire consequences for civilians in Gaza and striving to halt military escalation.

The Egyptian foreign minister reasserted Egypt’s consistent position since the start of the war on Gaza that any displacement of Palestinians, whether internally or externally, is a violation of international humanitarian law.

“We are preparing for all scenarios, but this is not an encouragement for displacement, nor are we preparing a safe zone for Palestinians in Egypt,” he said, refuting media reports that Egypt has been building camps to accommodate Palestinians in case they are displaced following an Israeli military operation in Rafah.

Gaza’s Rafah is currently hosting a million and a half Palestinians, most of whom were displaced from elsewhere in the strip.

“We are working to maintain and strengthen our borders all the time, and judging current activities is a kind of jumping to non-existent conclusions,” he said. 

Egypt is also conducting maintenance work on the roads as there are hundreds of aid trucks crowded on the Egyptian side, he added. 

Earlier Saturday, Mohamed Abdel-Fadil Shousha, the governor of North Sinai, announced that the Egyptian government is establishing a logistics hub in Rafah, Egypt to receive aid provided by Egypt, foreign countries, and regional and international organizations.


Revenge, not self-defence

During the session co-shared with his Saudi and Norwegian counterparts, the Egyptian FM said Arabs have condemned all attacks on civilians stressing the fact that the conflict did not start on 7 October, but goes back to the 1940s.

He added that the casualties caused by the Israeli war will not achieve the security that Israel desires.

"30,000 victims fell in Gaza, in addition to 70,000 orphaned children, and this does not lead to any security vision for Israel," he said 

"The destruction happening in Gaza indicates revenge rather than self-defence, affecting both Palestinians and Israelis, he added"

He continued: "But we must envision a future where there is peace and two states living safely side by side."

He said that just as Israel has the right to self-defence, Palestinians also have the right to resist occupation, and both parties have the right to live in security and peace.

Shoukry attributed the failure to solve the Palestinian issue over decades to "the international community not translating words into actions."

Responding to a question about the legitimacy of Hamas, Shoukry said that Hamas is outside Palestinian consensus and those who sustained it in Gaza should be held accountable through financing and support.

He further stated that "the goal we can achieve is to eliminate the ideology behind Hamas and propose alternatives that respond to the aspirations of both the Palestinian and Israeli peoples."

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