Philippe Lazzarini, the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), clarified that the Egyptian government never closed the Rafah border crossing since Hamas’s surprise attack on Israel on 7 October.
Lazzarni’s comments came during a meeting with North Sinai’s Mohamed Abdel-Fadil Shousha on 14 January, according to AlQahera News.
During the meeting, Lazzarini also highlighted that the only issue with the Rafah border crossing has been Israel’s continuous efforts to obstruct the entry of aid.
While flying to the Gaza Strip from Sinai’s Arish International Airport, Lazzarini described Israel’s war on Gaza as a crime against humanity – warning that the situation could deteriorate further if no action was taken by the international community.
“Everyone is targeted by the Israeli war machine, including women, children, elderly people, and UNRWA staffers,” Lazzarini remarked.
During the meeting, the governor highlighted Egypt’s continuous efforts in delivering humanitarian aid to the strip through the Rafah border crossing, which Lazzarini praised.
The UNRWA chief’s defence of Egypt comes in light of recent allegations by Israeli lawyers during the country’s trial in the International Court of Justice – claiming Egypt is responsible for preventing the entry of humanitarian aid into the strip through Rafah.
Israel also stated that Egyptian authorities do not need Israeli permission as they are the ones who have full responsibility for the entry of aid into the strip.
Egypt’s Chairman of the State Information Service Diaa Rashwan was quick to deny the accusations.
In a statement released on 12 January, Rashwan said that Israeli officials – including the prime minister, minister of defence, and energy minister – indicated through several public statements that “they will not allow aid to enter Gaza Strip, especially fuel because this is part of the war that their state is waging against the Strip.”
As Israel’s unrelenting military operations enter its 100th day, calls for a ceasefire and withdrawal of troops are increasing globally as the Palestinian death toll nears 24,000 – mostly women and children.
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