22 April 2024 09:05 PM

Egypt warns Israeli retaking of Philadelphi Corridor would violate peace treaty

Tuesday، 16 January 2024 - 10:48 AM

After Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his ambition to retake control of the Philadelphi Corridor – a 100-metre-wide buffer zone stretching 14 kilometres along the Egypt-Gaza border – Egypt issued a warning about the potential consequences.

Netanyahu argues that Israel must control the corridor to ensure Gaza's demilitarization and prevent alleged weapons smuggling through tunnels after the ongoing war.

“The Philadelphi Corridor... must be in our hands. It must be shut. It is clear that any other arrangement would not ensure the demilitarization that we seek,” Netanyahu said in a news conference late in December, reiterating his pledge to eliminate Hamas.

This week, he also mentioned that Israel has various options to close the corridor but has yet to make a decision.

A report by The Wall Street Journal on Saturday cited Egyptian and Israeli officials asserting that such an operation may see Israel removing Palestinian control from the Rafah Border Crossing and stationing forces along the corridor.

Over the past 101 days, Israel has launched unrelenting strikes against northern and southern Gaza and has recently intensified strikes against Rafah on the border with Egypt. Rafah now houses more than a million Palestinians, around half of Gaza’s population, displaced from different parts of the strip due to the Israeli bombings.

Egypt views Netanyahu's remarks as a direct accusation that they are enabling or allowing weapons smuggling to Gaza's resistance groups. Diaa Rashwan, head of the State Information Service, emphasized that Egypt takes these accusations seriously, describing such remarks as “nonsense.”

These continued discussions concerning the Philadelphi Corridor coincide with the Israeli defense team at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) accusing Egypt of preventing the entry of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip through Rafah.

Egypt denies these accusations and asserts that Israel is making them to evade its likely condemnation by the court.

In a TV interview on Sunday, Rashwan highlighted that the "occupation" of the Philadelphi Corridor by Israeli forces would breach the annexes of the Egypt-Israeli Peace Treaty signed in Washington in 1979.

He emphasized that the treaty brought an end to 31 years of war between Egypt and Israel, fostering peaceful relations between the two nations for decades. Rashwan cautioned Israel against unsettling its "greatest neighbour" and the Arab country with which it has engaged in numerous conflicts.

Rashwan issued a stern warning that if Israel attempts to reclaim the corridor, Egypt would defend its national security and the central cause of Palestine, as the two issues are interconnected.

Ahram Online

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