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Egypt refutes Israel’s claims it is hindering aid entering Gaza 

January 15, 2024 at 11:07 am

Palestinians gather in front of Embassy of Egypt in Ramallah, demanding Rafah Border Crossing to remain open for aid trucks in Ramallah, West Bank on December 19, 2023. [İssam Rimawi – Anadolu Agency]

Egypt’s State Information Service has refuted Israel’s claims at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that Cairo is putting obstacles before the delivery of aid into the besieged Gaza Strip amid Israel’s devastating war on the enclave.

“The greatest obstacle to the entry of aid and its arrival in sufficient quantities to the Gaza Strip for 100 days is caused by the intentional intransigence of the Israeli occupation authorities that control the other crossings of the Strip,” the SIS said in a statement yesterday.

Israel, which controls Gaza militarily, is delaying the entry of aid into Gaza through prolonged inspection processes of aid shipments, Egypt explained.

The head of SIS, Diaa Rashwan, said that over the past 100 days, Egypt has made every effort to continue the entry of humanitarian and relief aid to the Strip, in an effort to stand with the Palestinian during the catastrophic humanitarian conditions they are experiencing as a result of this aggression.

He added that the entry of aid through the Rafah crossing from Egypt faces many obstacles, not least because the crossing is neither designated nor structurally prepared for the entry of goods as it is intended for individuals only. Egypt, he continued, is working to overcome this obstacle.

He explained that the Israeli army has bombed the roads leading to the crossing from the Palestinian side at least four times, preventing the movement of aid trucks. Egypt has worked to repair the damaged routes, he added.

He also pointed out that during the 100 days since Israel’s aggression began, 7,000 tonnes of medical aid entered Gaza through the Rafah border crossing as well as 50,000 tonnes of food aid, 20,000 tonnes of water, 1,000 tents, 11,000 tonnes of other relief materials, and 88 new ambulances.

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Over 4,000 tonnes of fuel and household gas were sent to the Strip during that period, on 9,000 trucks that crossed from the Rafah crossing into the Gaza Strip during the 100 days.

Rashwan confirmed that the crossing has never been closed and that Egypt has received 1,210 injured and sick people from Gaza for treatment, along with about 1,085 of their relatives, in addition to facilitating the crossing of 23,000 Palestinians, foreign nationals and dual nationals, and 2,623 Egyptians stranded in the Gaza Strip.

Just days into Israel’s brutal bombing campaign on Gaza, rights groups had reported that Israel had threatened to bomb aid trucks entering the enclave to relieve the humanitarian situation. With trucks seen u-turning to return to safety away from the Rafah Crossing.

Aid shipments intended for Gaza must undergo a cumbersome process of Israeli inspections and other hurdles are slowing the entry of aid into Gaza, US senators said after visiting the Rafah Crossing earlier this month. The system was “totally broken”, they added.

“What struck me yesterday was the miles of backed-up trucks. We couldn’t count, but there were hundreds,” Senator Jeff Merkley said.

Aid convoys have reported having their shipments rejected because boxes are 1-2 centimetres larger than Israel’s allowances, forcing them to repack all the items to meet the specifications, a time consuming process, at a time when every minute could mean lives are saved by vital supplies.