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Palestinian minister calls on US to press Israel to open Rafah Crossing

May 29, 2024 at 2:02 pm

Humanitarian aid trucks sent by UNRWA and Red Crescent pass through Rafah Border Crossing on Egyptian border as they drive to a storage of UNRWA, in Rafah, Gaza on December 18, 2023 [Abed Rahim Khatib – Anadolu Agency]

The Palestinian Authority health minister urged the US on Wednesday to press Israel to open the Rafah Crossing between Gaza and Egypt, Reuters has reported. The crossing is used to take humanitarian aid and medical supplies into the enclave. Majed Abu Ramadan said that there was no indication that the Israeli occupation authorities would open it soon.

Rafah was a major entry point for humanitarian aid before Israel stepped up its military offensive on the Gaza side of the border earlier this month and seized control of the crossing from the Palestinian Authority.

According to the WHO, the closure has affected significantly its ability to deliver essential medical supplies into the Gaza Strip, which has been targeted by an Israeli offensive since the 7 October cross-border incursion by the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas.

“There is no indication when they want to open it,” explained Abu Ramadan to reporters on the sidelines of the World Health Assembly in Geneva. “However, I would expect that all our friends and the international community to press hard, and especially the US, they have to press hard in order to open that.”

Abu Ramadan said that the crossing’s closure “complicates” the situation, making it “really very, very catastrophic” within Gaza.

Israel sent tanks into Rafah for the first time on Tuesday, in defiance of an order from the International Court of Justice to end its attacks on the city.

Around one million people have fled the Palestinian city in the past three weeks to take refuge from Israeli bombardments across the densely populated enclave, according to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, UNRWA.

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