Egypt and EU Reject Israeli Military Operation in Gaza, Call for Ceasefire

Egypt, EU urge Israel to halt Rafah invasion, fearing humanitarian crisis and regional instability. Arab states warn of catastrophic consequences for displaced Palestinians.

Hadeel Hashem
New Update
Egypt and EU Reject Israeli Military Operation in Gaza, Call for Ceasefire

Egypt and EU Reject Israeli Military Operation in Gaza, Call for Ceasefire

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell have rejected Israel's military operation in Rafah, Gaza, urging the EU to pressure Israel to prevent an invasion, displacement, and unilateral measures in Gaza, the West Bank, and Jerusalem. The ministers called for a ceasefire and a comprehensive two-state solution.

In discussions held last week in Egypt and Israel, with the participation of the chief of Egypt's Intelligence Directorate, the talks were described as a "final chance round to prevent Israel's invasion of Rafah in exchange for a deal to release Israeli hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners. Egypt sees ending the war as vital, as a Rafah operation could worsen the humanitarian crisis, strain its relationship with Israel, and cause masses of Gazans to cross the border, making Egypt an interested party in the mediation efforts.

Why this matters: The potential Israeli military operation in Rafah, Gaza threatens to further destabilize the region, exacerbate the humanitarian crisis, and jeopardize prospects for a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The international community's response and ability to prevent an escalation will have significant implications for the Middle East.

Shoukry accused some countries on the UN Human Rights Council of turning a blind eye to the suffering in Gaza and applying double standards, saying "the lives of Gaza's children are less valuable than others." Kuwaiti, Moroccan, and Qatari officials also condemned the brutal crimes and "unprecedented human disaster" in Gaza.

Egypt faces the prospect of a mass influx of Palestinian refugees from Gaza into Sinai, which would pose security and economic challenges for the country. More than 1 million Palestinian refugees have found refuge in Rafah, and thousands have crossed the border into Egypt. The government has reaffirmed its rejection of the forced displacement of Palestinians and the destruction of the possibility of a future Palestinian state.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has appealed to the United States to stop Israel from attacking Rafah, warning that such an assault could force much of the Palestinian population to flee the Gaza enclave. The United Nations and human rights groups have warned that an attack on Rafah would be catastrophic, as hundreds of thousands of people sheltering there have nowhere to flee.

In a meeting of six Arab foreign ministers in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the participants warned against an Israeli ground operation in Rafah, citing the potential catastrophic humanitarian consequences for the over 1.4 million displaced Palestinians and the threat to regional security. The ministers reaffirmed their rejection of any attempts to displace Palestinians from their land and discussed ways to implement the Arab vision for ending the war, addressing the humanitarian crisis, and reaching a political solution

Key Takeaways

  • Egypt, EU condemn Israel's planned military operation in Rafah, Gaza.
  • Talks aim to prevent invasion in exchange for prisoner swap deal.
  • Rafah operation threatens humanitarian crisis, regional stability, and peace process.
  • Arab states warn against Israeli ground operation in Rafah, cite catastrophic consequences.
  • Abbas appeals to US to stop Israel's attack on Rafah, warns of mass displacement.