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Reuters: Egypt Asserts Control Over Rafah Crossing Amid Israeli Proposal

May 18, 2024

In a decisive move, Egypt rebuffs Israeli overtures for joint oversight of the crucial Rafah crossing, opting instead for Palestinian authority, reports Reuters. The decision underscores escalating tensions post-Israeli military maneuvers in the border city of Rafah.

An Israeli security service, Shin Bet, presented the proposal during a visit to Cairo on Wednesday. An Israeli official, speaking anonymously to Reuters, disclosed that the plan outlined a mechanism for reopening and managing the Rafah crossing post-Israeli withdrawal.

According to Axios, the Israeli plan involves the participation of Palestinian representatives and UN personnel in reopening the crossing, under Israeli supervision and military protection. The plan dictates that the crossing will solely facilitate the movement of people and fuel transfers to and from the Gaza Strip.

Aid shipments from Egypt would be routed exclusively through the Karm Abo Salem crossing between Israel and Gaza, subject to Israeli inspections before entry into Gaza, Axios added.

Egypt maintains that the Rafah crossing should be solely managed by Palestinian authorities, rejecting any Israeli involvement.

On Saturday, a well-informed Egyptian source speaking to Al-Qahera News channel affirmed Egypt’s refusal to coordinate with Israel on the Rafah crossing, citing Israel’s unacceptable escalation in Gaza.

Egypt has consistently demanded the immediate withdrawal of Israeli forces from Rafah city and the crossing itself. Israel’s ground assaults on May 7 saw tanks entering Rafah city and assuming control of the Gazan side of the crossing, with Israeli flags raised—a move swiftly condemned by Cairo, which warned of jeopardizing the 1979 peace treaty.

Egypt has urged Israel to refrain from provocative actions that undermine ongoing efforts for a sustainable ceasefire and detainee swap deal. Despite these diplomatic efforts, no aid trucks have crossed into Gaza since the Israeli incursion at Rafah crossing.

Furthermore, Egypt has held Israel responsible for the worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza, conveying its concerns to all relevant parties.

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