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Egypt intensifies efforts to stop military escalation in Rafah

Egypt intensifies efforts to stop military escalation in Rafah
10 May 2024 08:45

CAIRO, GAZA (ALETIHAD)

Egypt has escalated its diplomatic efforts to mediate a ceasefire and facilitate a prisoner exchange between Israel and Palestine amidst the intensifying conflict in Rafah, in southern Gaza. Concurrently, US President Joe Biden has issued his first public warning that the US would cease arms supplies to Israel if it undertakes a significant military operation in Rafah.


A senior source from Egyptian media revealed that after a two-day negotiation in Cairo, delegations from both Israel and the Palestinian factions had departed, highlighting the ongoing challenges in aligning the two parties' viewpoints. The source noted that Egyptian efforts and those of other mediators persist in reconciling these views, particularly in light of recent escalations in the Gaza Strip.

A leader from one of the Palestinian factions disclosed that their delegation was heading to Doha, reiterating their commitment to the mediators' proposals aimed at ending the conflict. He accused Israel of attempting to undermine these mediation efforts by its military actions in Rafah, describing them as an escalation towards a war of extermination.

On the Israeli side, an official, as reported by Reuters, expressed reservations regarding the ceasefire proposals discussed in Cairo. He affirmed that Israel plans to continue its military operations in Rafah and other parts of Gaza as planned.

Amid these negotiations, Egypt has not only intensified its mediation efforts but also reiterated warnings about the potential for further escalation should the talks fail. Egyptian media reported continuous dialogue with various stakeholders, including Israel, the US, and Palestinian factions, aiming to secure a ceasefire and halt hostilities.

In a notable development, President Biden, in a televised interview, stated that a major Israeli invasion of Rafah would lead to a halt in US arms supplies previously used in conflicts.

This statement drew criticism from Israeli officials. Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, expressed disappointment, describing Biden's remarks as difficult and disheartening. Concurrently, Israeli Finance Minister Tzachi Hanegbi declared that Israel would pursue its objectives in Gaza irrespective of American threats.

At a press conference, White House National Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby underscored that an invasion of Rafah would not fulfil the joint objectives of the US and Israel in defeating the Palestinian factions in Gaza. Kirby highlighted that President Biden has consistently and explicitly conveyed his opposition to the Rafah operation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Adding to the international discourse, Egypt and Jordan have both voiced their complete opposition to the Israeli military operations in Rafah, citing severe humanitarian consequences. During a meeting, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Jordanian Prime Minister Bisher Al-Khasawneh discussed the grave situation in Gaza. Egyptian presidential spokesperson Ahmed Fahmy stated that the discussions focused on the dire circumstances in the Gaza Strip and the urgent need for a comprehensive ceasefire and prisoner exchange. Both leaders emphasised the responsibility of the international community to push for an immediate ceasefire and to progress towards recognising an independent Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem, based on the June 4, 1967, borders. This, they argued, is essential for achieving justice, security, regional stability, and developmental opportunities for all peoples of the region.

Source: Aletihad - Abu Dhabi
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