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Palestinians have nowhere to escape from the rockets falling on the Gaza Strip. Egypt refused to accept them

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In response to Saturday’s attack by Hamas, Israel is laying siege to the Palestinian Gaza Strip. On Friday, Israeli forces gave Gaza City residents 24 hours to evacuate to the southern part of the zone, which is opposed by Hamas, which orders civilians to stay at home. More than two million people, including foreigners, are trapped throughout the Gaza Strip. Egypt refused to accept refugees and closed its only operational border crossing. Humanitarian organizations are warning that in less than a week, stores will run out of food and hospitals will turn into morgues.

The Israeli military said on Thursday that it intended to overthrow its rule in the Gaza Strip in response to Saturday’s attack by Hamas, which killed more than 1,300 Israelis. More than 1,500 Palestinians have already been killed in retaliatory airstrikes. The entire territory was cut off from electricity, water and fuel supplies.

The Israeli military issued an order to the residents of Gaza City (the capital of the Gaza Strip located in the north – editor’s note) to evacuate to the southern part of the Palestinian zone. The inhabitants of Gaza were given 24 hours to do so. The military also warned Palestinian civilians not to approach the barrier that separates Israel from the Gaza Strip and said they would only be allowed to return to the North after the army announced permission.

Hamas described Israeli forces’ call to evacuate Palestinian civilians from the northern part of the Gaza Strip as a “propaganda message” and ordered them to stay at home.

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The siege of the Gaza Strip continues. 2.4 million Palestinians have nowhere to escape PAP/EPA/HAITHAM IMAD

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the order issued to the people of Gaza would have “devastating humanitarian consequences.” He also emphasized that the Israeli military’s order also covers all UN staff and people staying at the organization’s facilities, including schools, health centers and clinics.

Egypt closes its borders

The Gaza Strip is a territory bordering Israel and Egypt with an area of ​​365 square kilometers, which is slightly larger than Krakow, 41 kilometers long and a maximum of 12 kilometers wide. The zone is surrounded on the land side by a heavily fortified barrier consisting of a concrete wall or double barbed wire. Since 2007, Israel and Egypt have maintained a blockade of the Gaza Strip from land, sea and air, which is why it is called the world’s largest open-air prison.

International pressure is mounting on Egypt to open its border crossing with the Gaza Strip and allow the exodus of more than two million inhabitants. Some world public opinion may wonder why Arab and mostly Muslim Egypt does not help the Palestinians trapped in Gaza.

SEE ALSO: “NYT”: During the Hamas attack, a retired Israeli general took a gun and went to fight terrorists

Despite the great sympathy that 100 million Egyptians have for the Palestinians’ aspirations to achieve statehood, Egypt and Israel, after signing the Camp David peace treaty in 1978, have strong diplomatic and economic relations and, above all, close cooperation in the field of security. Despite the peace treaty, Israel even gave Egypt permission to deploy troops, weapons and combat helicopters near the border to fight jihadists there.

Cairo controls the Rafah crossing, which is the most important crossing for every Palestinian wanting to leave Gaza until recently, even though the waiting lists could number several thousand people. Due to the Israeli bombing of Rafah, the crossing was closed on Wednesday morning.

Egyptian President Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi said on Tuesday, referring to the potential resettlement of Gazans to Egypt, that he “will not allow the Palestinian problem to be solved at the expense of other (countries).” An anonymous Egyptian security source told The New Arab that “a state of heightened alert has been announced at the borders with Gaza and Israel to prevent attempts by Palestinians to enter Egypt.”

There is a high risk that Palestinian terrorists will also reach Egypt

In Egypt, political opposition is virtually non-existent, so the preferences of most Egyptians regarding the Palestinian cause do not play a significant role. Due to the presidential elections scheduled for December, the security services, which daily commit human rights violations with impunity, are on extraordinary alert.

It seems that Sisi, who rules with an iron fist, cannot afford internal confusion regarding the admission of Gazans and the high risk that Palestinian terrorists will enter Egypt together with the civilian population. Like every Middle Eastern leader, although he officially supports the Palestinians’ desire to establish their own state, he does not want to have on his territory Palestinian terrorists who in the past started a civil war in Jordan (1970-1971) and Lebanon (1975-1990).

Food will be available in stores in less than a week

The World Food Program warned on Thursday that stores in the Gaza Strip would run out of food in less than a week. Out of over 338 thousand of those who fled their homes due to intense Israeli shelling, two-thirds have taken refuge in UN-run schools, and the rest are staying with relatives.

According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, hospitals in Gaza are at risk of becoming mass mortuaries due to the loss of electricity.

Hamas does not want to allow the evacuation

The matter is complicated by the fact that Hamas representatives have stated in recent days that they do not want to allow the evacuation of the Gaza Strip because it could mean the permanent displacement of Palestinians.

SEE ALSO: The high school students were in Israel when Hamas attacked. “We really almost didn’t come back”

“Opening a safe corridor to force our people to leave their homeland to certain death is not something that our people and our resistance movement will agree to,” said Mahmoud Mirdawi of Hamas’ political office.

Other countries want to get their citizens out of besieged territory

He said, among others, that talks with Egypt on the creation of a humanitarian corridor are ongoing. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and UN envoy to the Middle East Tor Wennesland. However, according to Wall Street Journal sources, discussions between the US and Egypt focused solely on the possibility of providing safe passage for 500-600 Americans from Gaza, and Sisi’s government has held similar talks with many countries that want to get their citizens out of the besieged territory.

Egypt is, for now, unable to meet these demands due to a deep crater in the ground on the Gazan side of Rafah. It was created after the impact of an Israeli missile. And also because after the first two days of fighting, when Egypt sent humanitarian aid through Rafah, Israel informed the Egyptian government that it would not allow further crossings, sources say.

According to former Egyptian diplomat Ezzedin Shukri Fisher, “when the number of people displaced by the conflict reaches a critical point” the Sisi regime will come under too much pressure from public opinion and will decide to open the crossing and let the Palestinians in.

Main photo source: PAP/EPA/HAITHAM IMAD

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