Egypt and Jordan reject the forced displacement of thousands of Palestinians from Gaza to their territory | International

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A truck with humanitarian aid, on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border with the Gaza Strip, this Thursday.ALI MOUSTAFA (EFE)

The president of Egypt, Abdel Fattá al Sisi, and King Abdullah II of Jordan met this Thursday in Cairo to reject the “policies of collective punishment” against the Palestinians in Gaza. Both leaders considered the eventual forced displacement of thousands of inhabitants of the Strip to their territory as an “extreme danger” to regional security. The Jordanian monarch and the the president Egyptian authorities had canceled on Wednesday the meeting they had planned in Amman with the presidents of the United States, Joe Biden, and the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, after the massacre at the Al Ahli al Arabi hospital in Gaza.

In recent days, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has raised the possibility of thousands of Gazan civilians leaving the Strip and settling in the neighboring Egyptian Sinai Peninsula. But Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority have opposed it, believing that a forced expulsion would threaten to destroy the establishment of a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 borders: the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.

On the same Wednesday, Abbas also considered that the forced displacement of Gazans out of the Strip was a "red line." In Ramallah, headquarters of the Palestinian Authority, he warned that the Palestinians will not abandon their land. A day earlier, King Abdullah had also expressed his rejection of the expulsion of Palestinians from Gaza to Egypt or Jordan.

Egypt is preparing to open this Friday a humanitarian aid corridor to Gaza through the Rafah border crossing, the only one not controlled by Israel, which connects the Sinai Peninsula with the Palestinian enclave. The United States, Israel and Egypt separately announced an agreement Wednesday to deliver emergency aid to the enclave. The lack of security guarantees by the Israeli Government had until then paralyzed the opening of the humanitarian corridor,

Some 150 trucks are parked on the Egyptian side of the border waiting to deliver humanitarian aid collected by Egyptian organizations, according to Ahmed Salem, director of the Sinai Foundation for Human Rights. President Biden, however, warned that initially only up to 20 freight vehicles would be allowed through.

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Work to repair the damage caused at the Rafah crossing by the four Israeli bombings launched on the border since the beginning of the conflict continued this Thursday, amid a substantial deployment of the Egyptian security services. The need for food and energy in the coastal enclave is considered very urgent, as food and fuel reserves are about to be exhausted. At least four hospitals in the Gaza Strip have stopped functioning, as reported this Thursday by the Gaza Ministry of Health. The affected health centers are those of Beit Hanun, Al Durra, Al Karama and the International Ophthalmology Center in Gaza City.

The ministry has also confirmed that the Turkish-Palestinian Hospital, one of the few offering cancer care in Gaza, has virtually stopped functioning due to lack of fuel and electricity. The Emergency Department has been out of service. The director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has demanded from Geneva that the passage of fuel, vetoed by Israel, be also allowed, along with the entry of medicines and food.

The day after President Joe Biden's visit, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Rishi Sunak, also expressed this Thursday his “full continued support” for Israel. Sunak has met in Jerusalem with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “We want you to win,” proclaimed the British president, who celebrated the imminent reopening of the Rafah border crossing for humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.

“I am proud to be here with you in Israel's darkest hour,” Sunak declared at a joint press conference with Netanyahu. “As friends, we stand in solidarity with you and stand by your people.” “I know that they are taking every precaution to avoid harming civilians (…) and I welcome the decision they made yesterday to ensure that the passage to humanitarian aid is reopened,” he added.

Since the beginning of hostilities, after the attack launched on October 7 by Hamas against Israel, more than 3,700 Palestinians have died in Gaza and its surroundings. Some 1,400 deaths have been recorded in Israel, of which more than 300 were soldiers, and more than 200 people remain kidnapped in the hands of Gaza militias. In the West Bank, 64 Palestinians have already been killed in incidents with Jewish settlers and security forces.

Next invasion order

Featured on the same Israeli combat front, the Minister of Defense, Yoav Galant, harangued soldiers deployed near the Gaza border this Thursday with a speech in which he anticipated an upcoming ground offensive against the territory of the Palestinian enclave, controlled by Hamas militias since 2007. “Now you can see the Gaza Strip from the outside,” he told them. “Soon, you will see it from the inside. The order (of invasion) will arrive,” said retired General Galant.

The volleys of rockets from the Strip against the south and center of Israel continued throughout the day, along with waves of Israeli bombings on positions of Islamic militias in Gaza. In one of these latest attacks, Jamila al Shanti, the first woman to hold a senior position in Hamas, died when she was in her house on the night of Wednesday to Thursday. Al Shati was the widow of Abdelaziz al Rantisi, co-founder of the Palestinian Islamist group, killed by Israel in 2004.

In response to attacks by the Lebanese and pro-Iranian group Hezbollah, Israel fired artillery shells in the north of the country on Thursday. The Israeli army has indicated on social media that Hezbollah launched two anti-tank missiles from Lebanese soil against the Manara kibbutz in northern Israel. Shortly after, Israeli forces responded by opening fire on the point from where the Hezbollah attack had started.

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