Egypt rejects Israeli plans for Rafah crossing, sources say

Egypt insists the crossing should be managed only by Palestinian authorities.

By The Algemeiner and Reuters

Egypt has rejected an Israeli proposal for the two countries to coordinate to re-open the Rafah crossing between Egypt‘s Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip, and to manage its future operation, two Egyptian security sources said.

Officials from Israeli security service Shin Bet presented the plan on a visit to Cairo on Wednesday, amid rising tension between the two countries following Israel’s military advance last week into Rafah, the Hamas terrorist group’s last stronghold in Gaza and where hundreds of thousands of Palestinians displaced by war have been sheltering.

The Rafah crossing has been a main conduit for humanitarian aid entering Gaza, and an exit point for medical evacuees from the territory. Israel took operational control of the crossing and has said it will not compromise on preventing Hamas having any future role in the neighboring Palestinian enclave.

The Israeli proposal included a mechanism for how to manage the crossing after an Israeli withdrawal, the security sources said. Egypt insists the crossing should be managed only by Palestinian authorities, they added.

An Israeli official who requested anonymity said the delegation traveled to Egypt “mainly to discuss matters around Rafah, given recent developments,” but declined to elaborate.

Egypt‘s foreign press office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Egypt and Israel have a long-standing peace treaty and security cooperation, but the relationship has come under strain during the Gaza war, especially since the Israeli advance around Rafah.

The two countries traded blame this week for the border crossing closure and resulting blockage of humanitarian relief.

Egypt says Rafah‘s closure is due solely to the Israeli military operation. It has expressed concern about refugees from Gaza trying to enter Egypt.

Israeli government spokesperson David Mencer said on Wednesday that Egypt had rejected an Israeli request to open Rafah to Gazan civilians who wish to flee.

The Israeli delegation also discussed stalled negotiations for a ceasefire and hostage release in Gaza during their Cairo visit, but did not convey any new messages, the Egyptian sources said. Egypt has been a mediator in the talks, along with Qatar and the United States.

Hamas terrorists launched the ongoing war on Oct. 7, when they invaded southern Israel, murdered 1,200 people, and abducted over 250 others as hostages. Israel responded with a military campaign aimed at freeing the hostages and destroying Hamas, which rules Gaza.

Read  WATCH: Rafah streets before and after