IDF tells Egypt it will occupy Rafah border crossing

The IDF said would continue its operations on the Rafah border crossing whether or not Egypt agrees.

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

The IDF has told Egypt to evacuate its soldiers from the Rafah border crossing and the “Philadelphi’ route and has expressed its intention to occupy the area, According to Arab media outlets on Saturday.

In addition, the IDF said it would take no responsibility for the security of Egyptian troops should they remain in the area, and that Israel would continue its operations whether or not Egypt agrees.

Arab media also reports that the IDF is firing shells in Southern Rafa and Israel’s armored vehicles are in the Kerem Shalom crossing.

This development occurs at the same time that the Arab press reports that Egypt has proposed a 3-phase timeline for hostage and prisoner releases and the end of the Gaza war.

Saudi newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat detailed the three phases of the deal proposed by Egypt, beginning with a ceasefire of several weeks and 40 hostages released to Israel.

The second phase of the agreement involves discussions with the Palestinian Authority about establishing a technocratic government.

During the third stage, there would be a long-term ceasefire, a prisoner exchange deal, and the withdrawal of Israel from the Gaza Strip.

According to sources close to the newspaper, Hamas has agreed to Egypt’s proposal.

The Qatari newspaper Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported that “Egypt’s vision is based on the desire to involve all Palestinian factions and find an alternative to [Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas].”

Last week, Hamas rejected negotiations for a temporary ceasefire similar to the one in late November during which hostages would be released to Israel in exchange for Palestinian prisoners.
Instead, Hamas said it refused to release any hostages unit Israel agreed to a permanent and unconditional ceasefire and full withdrawal from Gaza.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected demands Thursday issued by the Hamas terror organization that the two sides enter a ceasefire as a precondition to talks aimed at securing the release of additional Israeli hostages held in Gaza.