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Egypt: Any Israel move to occupy the Philadelphi Corridor is a ‘threat to relations’

January 23, 2024 at 2:27 pm

National Dialogue Coordinator, Diaa Rashwan [Youtube]

Egypt stated, on Monday evening, that “any Israeli move towards occupying the Philadelphi or Salah Al-Din Corridor in the Gaza Strip will lead to a serious threat to Egyptian-Israeli relations”.

This came in a statement issued by Diaa Rashwan, head of the State Information Service (SIS), amid the ongoing Israeli genocidal war waged on the Gaza Strip since 7 October.

Rashwan said, in the same statement, a copy of which was obtained by Anadolu, “The recent period witnessed several statements by Israeli officials, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, containing false claims and accusations.”

He pointed out that these “false claims and allegations include accusations of smuggling operations of weapons, explosives, ammunition and their components into the Gaza Strip from Egyptian territory through several methods, including tunnels that these statements claimed exist between both sides of the border.”

The Egyptian official called on Tel Aviv to conduct internal investigations, saying, “The Israeli government must conduct serious investigations within its army, state agencies and society, to search for those actually involved in smuggling weapons to the Gaza Strip.”

OPINION: Gaza and Egypt’s options regarding the Philadelphi Corridor 

He added, “Israel’s insistence on promoting these lies is an attempt to create legitimacy for its attempt to occupy the Philadelphi Corridor or the Salah Al-Din Corridor, in the Gaza Strip along the border with Egypt, in violation of the security agreements and protocols signed between it and Egypt.”

“We must firmly emphasise that any Israeli move in this direction will lead to a serious and grave threat to Egyptian-Israeli relations. In addition to being a country that respects its international obligations, Egypt is also capable of defending its interests and sovereignty over its land and borders,” he said.

The Egyptian official stressed that his country’s borders “will not be pawned by a group of extremist Israeli leaders who seek to drag the region into a state of conflict and instability.”

He continued, “This Egyptian red line (not harming the Philadelphi Corridor) is added to the previous red line that Egypt has repeatedly declared, which is the categorical rejection of forcibly or voluntarily displacing our Palestinian brothers to Sinai, which it will not allow Israel to cross.”

He stressed that “the false Israeli allegations do not serve the peace treaty (signed in 1979), which Egypt respects.”

He called on “the Israeli side to show its respect for the peace treaty and to stop making statements that would strain bilateral relations in light of the current provocative conditions.”

The official Israeli Broadcasting Corporation reported that Israeli officials informed Egypt last week that they were planning to carry out a military operation in the Philadelphi axis area, which is the border area between the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula.

This operation, if implemented, aims to control Israel’s alleged presence of smuggling tunnels in the region. Netanyahu referred to this report and said the war will not end without closing the opening in the Philadelphi axis.

On 10 January, Israel’s Channel 12 reported that Cairo rejected a request from Tel Aviv for Israel to secure the Philadelphi Corridor border area between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.

Netanyahu previously said Israel must control the Philadelphi border area between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.

The Philadelphi Axis, also called the “Salah Al-Din Axis”, is part of a buffer zone under the Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel in 1979. Its width is no more than 100 metres and extends 14.5 kilometres from the Mediterranean Sea to the Karam Salem Crossing.

READ: Egypt rejects Israeli request to monitor buffer zone with Gaza, sources say