Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza: Negotiations Stalled, Rafah Border in Limbo

2023-10-17 04:43:46
2023-10-17 12:43 United News Network 24 Hours Dual-citizen Palestinians waiting in Rafah.Photo/European News Agency

【2023. 10. 17 Palestine/Israel】

Gaza under full siege: Negotiations on opening Rafah border stalled, humanitarian supplies stranded in Egypt

“An unprecedented humanitarian disaster is unfolding before our eyes.” Thousands of Palestinian residents in the Gaza corridor are still gathering at the Rafah crossing bordering Egypt, hoping to escape before the Israeli army launches a ground attack. However, Diplomatic negotiations to reopen the Rafah port have still not made progress. Egypt accused Israel of being uncooperative. The United States also expressed its original hope that Rafah would be briefly reopened on the 16th but failed. Israel’s continuous air strikes have made it extremely difficult to deliver humanitarian supplies to Gaza. With Gaza cut off from water and electricity, and life-sustaining resources regarding to be exhausted, the United Nations is still trying to agree on a rescue mechanism with all parties, while the European Union plans to China launched Operation Air Bridge to deliver emergency supplies to Gaza.

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The Rafah crossing is located at the southernmost end of the Gaza corridor, bordering Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. Israel has closed two other crossings into and out of Gaza – Erez in the north and Kerem Shalom in the south. ), Rafah became the only way out of Gaza and is now the only feasible way for humanitarian aid to enter Gaza. However, the Egyptian government closed Rafah on October 10, citing security concerns. Today, dozens of trucks carrying fuel and humanitarian aid such as medicines and hygiene supplies are still stranded in the city of El-Arish on the Egyptian side of Rafah ( Arish).

Israel’s retaliatory air strikes covered the entire Gaza, including areas near Rafah. On October 12, the Egyptian government asked Israel to stop attacking the Rafah area so that supplies might safely pass through Rafah and become a “support lifeline” for Gaza residents. ;

Rafa on October 15th. Photo/AFP On October 16, 2023, a humanitarian aid convoy originally expected to go to Gaza was parked in El-Arish, Egypt. picture/…

On the 16th, the US “NBC” quoted an anonymous Palestinian official and reported that Rafah would be opened at 9 a.m. local time. Many Gaza residents gathered in Rafah because of the news of the opening, but then Israel and the armed organization Hamas All deny this. The White House also pointed out that the United States had originally hoped that Rafah would be able to open briefly for a few hours on the 16th, but that expectation had come to nothing; Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said that there was no progress in negotiations with Israel, and he accused Israel of being unscrupulous. Cooperation attitude:

“So far, the Israeli government has not taken a position on opening Rafah from the Gaza side to allow the entry of relief supplies and the exit of third-country citizens.”

The United Nations also pointed out that the ongoing offensive has made it extremely difficult for humanitarian relief supplies to enter Gaza through Rafah, and negotiations to reopen Rafah are still ongoing:

“Given that this involves many parties and not all have reached consensus, a mechanism needs to be established. We are working with key partners to resolve this issue.”

While all parties were still coordinating the resumption of customs clearance, Hamas’s radio station Aqsa reported that Israel attacked the Rafah area once more on the 16th; the BBC also confirmed that the area around Rafah was hit by air strikes on the 16th, and the Gaza side buildings and roads were damaged. Gaza is currently like an open-air prison. In addition to all exit ports being closed, the Israeli Ministry of Defense ordered a “complete siege” on October 9, stating that Gaza will have “no electricity, no food, no fuel, everything.” closure.”

On October 16, 2023, Palestinians gathered at the collapsed… Palestinians in Rafah mourned those killed in Israeli air strikes on October 16, 2023, following Israel launched an air strike on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. Picture/AP…

Egypt, while trying to negotiate to allow humanitarian supplies and third-country passport holders to leave Gaza through Rafah, is deeply concerned regarding the possible influx of war refugees following the border is opened. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi On October 12, it warned that the evacuation from Gaza would eliminate the Palestinians’ foothold for survival, and called on the Palestinians to “unswervingly hold on to their land.” In addition to the refugee flow, Egypt is also worried that Islamic armed personnel will take advantage of the chaos to enter the country—— The Sinai Peninsula has also been facing the issue of jihad in the past 10 years.

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While negotiations to reopen the Rafah crossing are stalled, Gaza’s limited survival resources are rapidly being depleted. Israel has cut off water and power supplies for several days. The United Nations has warned that Gaza residents who have taken refuge in shelters must now have strict restrictions on access to drinking water. ——More than 1 million of the 2.3 million residents of Gaza have been displaced, 600,000 of whom have moved to the south, as Israel calls on Gaza residents to evacuate the north to avoid the upcoming ground military operation once morest Hamas. In the past 24 hours, Israeli airstrikes and bombings have forced an additional 250,000 people into hospitals and schools serving as shelters.

The United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) stated that the local power outage has been out for the fifth consecutive day, and medical, water and sanitation facilities are on the verge of collapse. The agency’s staff only have a daily ration of one liter of water, including drinking water. and other usage requirements.

Although Israel stated on October 15 that it had reopened part of the water pipeline to Gaza, it was still unable to start the water supply equipment because the local fuel in Gaza had been exhausted. UNRWA pointed out in the latest news released on the 16th that due to the lack of In the absence of clean drinking water, Gaza residents are already drinking water from agricultural wells, which has led to serious concerns regarding the spread of local waterborne diseases.

Palestinians with dual citizenship wait to cross the southern Gaza corridor between Egypt and Egypt on October 16, 2023… A Palestinian young man was ejected from a building following an Israeli airstrike in Rafah on October 16, 2023. Under the ruins…

Philippe Lazzarini, director of UNRWA, said:

“An unprecedented humanitarian disaster is unfolding before our eyes.”

On the other hand, the European Union stated on the 16th that it would launch a humanitarian air bridge operation, including flying to Egypt to transport humanitarian supplies for Gaza relief. The EU statement stated:

“The first two flights will take off this week, carrying humanitarian cargo from UNICEF, including shelter items, medicine and hygiene products.”

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen also said:

“Palestinians in Gaza need humanitarian assistance and must not pay the price for Hamas’ barbaric acts.”

Von der Leyen also pointed out that the EU has decided to triple its humanitarian assistance, with the total amount of assistance to exceed 75 million euros to support civilians in need in Gaza.

Hamas fired thousands of rockets at Israel on October 7, and Hamas fighters crossed the Erez border to commit murders and kidnap hostages. Israel stated that more than 1,400 people were killed in Hamas’ attacks, and the estimated number of hostages increased from the original number. The number of people increased from 155 to 199, and health officials from the Palestinian Autonomous Government pointed out on the 16th that Israel’s retaliatory air strikes had killed 2,750 people in Gaza; at the same time, Israeli troops gathered on the Gaza border, waiting to launch a ground attack.

On October 16, 2023, Israeli air strikes hit Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, sending thick smoke billowing over the city. Picture/Faxin…

Text/Lai Yun

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