CAIRO — After recent airstrikes by the Israeli military caused widespread destruction and displacement in the Gaza Strip, attention has turned to the Rafah border crossing with Egypt as the only potential way out for those trapped in the enclave. However, Egypt is hesitant to allow a large influx of refugees into the country, citing concerns about political implications and security risks.
Many individuals and organizations are calling for the opening of a humanitarian corridor to provide much-needed aid to Gaza, including food, water, fuel, and medical supplies. Despite Israel’s evacuation order for the residents of Gaza City, Egypt has yet to fully reopen the Rafah crossing.
Egypt’s Foreign Ministry criticized Israel’s evacuation order, stating that it violated international humanitarian law. In response, Egypt has collected aid from various humanitarian organizations and Middle Eastern countries, which is currently stockpiled in northern Sinai, ready to be delivered to Gaza if the crossing reopens. President Abdel Fatah El-Sisi has also initiated a blood drive to support the humanitarian effort.
Egypt, long involved in negotiations between Israel and Palestinian factions, has expressed its willingness to coordinate with all parties and deliver humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza. President Sisi and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry have been in constant communication with governments worldwide, seeking support and aid for Gaza.
The question of allowing large numbers of Palestinians to enter Egypt poses a longstanding dilemma for the country. Cairo is concerned about security issues in the Sinai region and does not want to be seen as contributing to a campaign that could lead to the permanent displacement of Palestinians from Gaza.
Israel’s recent call for Palestinians to leave Gaza has created an impossible situation for the residents of the enclave. Even under normal circumstances, Egypt maintains strict control over the border, requiring Palestinians to obtain permission from both Palestinian and Egyptian authorities. The process is often time-consuming and costly, with many individuals having to pay high fees to travel agencies for expedited access. Sinai, where Egypt has been battling Islamist militants for several years, is heavily militarized.
Unnamed Egyptian security sources have suggested that there is a plan to force Palestinians to leave their lands, presenting them with a choice between death and displacement. However, it is unclear whether a significant number of Palestinians actually wish to leave Gaza and seek refuge in Egypt, given the dangers and historical traumas associated with displacement.
The mass displacement of Palestinians during the founding of Israel in 1948, known as the Nakba, continues to have a profound impact on their collective memory. The majority of Gazans are already refugees who were forcefully displaced from their homes in what is now Israel and have not been allowed to return.
Egypt, concerned about the political and security risks associated with a large influx of Palestinian refugees, is cautious about offering a permanent solution. The country needs to maintain public support, and public opinion is deeply sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. However, pushing Palestinians to Sinai as a more permanent solution is unacceptable to many in Egypt and could jeopardize the Palestinian question altogether.
Egypt’s President Sisi, already under pressure due to a struggling economy and upcoming elections, does not want to be seen as aiding in the displacement of Palestinians. He has publicly emphasized Egypt’s support for a two-state solution and repeatedly called for peace. Sisi rejected any resolution to the Palestinian question that deviates from the 1993 Oslo accords, which were meant to pave the way for a Palestinian state.
Overall, Egypt is navigating a fine line between supporting the Palestinian cause and mitigating the risks associated with a large influx of refugees. The country aims to strike a balance between maintaining security and stability while advocating for a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Q: Why is Egypt hesitant to allow Gaza refugees into the country?
A: Egypt is concerned about the potential political fallout and security risks associated with a large influx of refugees.
Q: What is the current situation at the Rafah border crossing?
A: The crossing remains effectively closed, despite calls for a humanitarian corridor to provide essential aid to Gaza.
Q: What is Egypt doing to support the humanitarian effort?
A: Egypt has stockpiled aid in northern Sinai and initiated a blood drive to assist the people of Gaza.
Q: Why do Palestinians need permission from both Palestinian and Egyptian authorities to exit Gaza?
A: Egypt maintains tight control over the border and requires individuals to obtain permission from both sides.
Q: What historical event has had a lasting impact on the Palestinian population?
A: The mass displacement of Palestinians during the founding of Israel in 1948, known as the Nakba, continues to affect them.
– [Washington Post](https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/05/14/gaza-evacuation-israel-egypt/)