Thursday, April 25, 2024

Egypt threatens to suspend key peace treaty if Israel pushes into Gaza border town of Rafah


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Rafah, Feb 11: Egypt is threatening to suspend its peace treaty with Israel if Israeli troops are sent into the densely populated Gaza border town of Rafah, and says fighting there could force the closure of the territory’s main aid supply route, two Egyptian officials and a Western diplomat said on Sunday. The threat to suspend the Camp David Accords, a cornerstone of regional stability for nearly a half-century, came after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said sending troops into Rafah was necessary to win the four-month-old war against the Palestinian militant group Hamas. Over half of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million have fled to Rafah to escape fighting in other areas, and are packed into sprawling tent camps and UN-run shelters near the border. Egypt fears a mass influx of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees who may never be allowed to return. The stand-off between Israel and Egypt, two close US allies, comes as aid groups warn that an offensive in Rafah would worsen the already catastrophic humanitarian situation in Gaza, where around 80 per cent of residents have fled their homes and where the UN says a quarter of the population faces starvation. Netanyahu, in an interview with ABC News, suggested civilians in Rafah could flee north, saying there are “plenty of areas” that have been cleared by the army. He said Israel is developing a “detailed plan” to relocate them. But the offensive has caused widespread destruction, particularly in northern Gaza, and heavy fighting is still taking place in central Gaza and the southern city of Khan Younis.
Israel seeks UNRWA chief’s resignation
Foreign Minister of Israel, Israel Kantz and the permanent representative of the country in the United Nations, Gilad Erdan along with a host of other senior leaders have demanded the resignation of Philippe Lazzarini, chief of United Nations Relief and Works Agency for the Palestinian Refugees of the Near East (UNRWA). The demand arose after the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) unearthed a tunnel shaft under the headquarters of the UNRWA that houses important data centres of the terror outfit, Hamas. Kantz while commenting on X said, “The exposure of UNRWA’s Gaza headquarters’ deep involvement with Hamas, including its use for terror activities and as an access point to terror tunnels, requires immediate action. Commissioner-General Lazzarini’s claim of unawareness is not only absurd but also an affront to common sense. His prompt resignation is imperative.”
Erdan also came out strongly against the UNRWA chief and said, “It’s not that you didn’t know, it’s that you didn’t WANT to know. We exposed terror tunnels under UNRWA schools and supplied evidence that Hamas’ exploits of UNRWA.” (Agencies)


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