Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry has warned against the Israel planned assault on the southern Gaza city of Rafah, affirming that it would further deteriorate the humanitarian situation.
In a press conference on Saturday with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Mariya Gabriel in Cairo, Shoukry noted the Israeli remarks about further military activities in the southern Gaza Strip foreshadow further civilian casualties and a catastrophic humanitarian situation.
He added that there are 1.4 million Palestinian citizens, who are crowded into the very small area of Rafah city, while being unable to protect themselves from these military actions.
Shoukry also warned against the impact of these military actions on the region, calling for respecting the humanitarian situation and spare the strip further civilian casualties and destruction.
“There is international consensus that the region cannot bear the same intensity of military operations that we witnessed in the past period,” Shoukry stated.
“The humanitarian conditions are deteriorating, and any expansion of military operations will have grave consequences,” he added.
Forced displacement policy
Shoukry affirmed Egypt’s rejection of forced displacement of Palestinians from their lands. He warned against the Israeli measures, which naturally lead to this forced displacement, stressing that these measures must be seen as a “systematic policy.”
“It is important that these measures do not persist to achieve this rejected outcome,” he stated.
Reaping fruits of ‘double standards’
Shoukry said that Egypt has repeatedly warned of the repercussions of the war in Gaza and the spillover of the conflict in the region, which the international community now faces.
“The international community is currently witnessing the consequences for which it bears responsibilities due to the double standards that have astonished not only the global public opinion but also the Arab and Islamic communities,” he emphasized.
The top Egyptian diplomat shed light on the deal that was formulated through consultations held in Paris late in January between intelligence agencies. He also highlighted Israeli statements considering the deal unacceptable or unsuitable as a basis for a ceasefire and the release of hostages.
However, he stressed that the Israeli perspectives have not hindered continuous communication and efforts being made in Cairo to bridge the gap in viewpoints and establish a framework that allows for a ceasefire and the release of Israeli captives and Palestinian detainees.
He added that Egypt’s ultimate goal is a complete cessation of hostilities in Gaza.
“We have always affirmed that the objective is a comprehensive ceasefire, the delivery of humanitarian aid, and working to prevent the liquidation of the Palestinian cause through forced displacement of Palestinian people, whether from Gaza or the West Bank, beyond their territories,” he stated.
He described the negotiations between Israel and Hamas as “complex” as each party seeks to achieve their interests as much as possible.
He confirmed the continuation of Egyptian efforts to cease hostilities and spare the Palestinian people from the ravages of the war and the severe damage inflicted on innocent civilians.
He, however, stressed that the situation is evolving negatively in light of the Israeli planned assault on Rafah.