Egypt threatens to droop key peace treaty if Israel pushes into Gaza border city, officers say


RAFAH, Gaza Strip — Egypt is threatening to droop its peace treaty with Israel if Israeli troops are despatched into the densely populated Gaza border city of Rafah, and says combating there might pressure the closure of the territory’s foremost help provide route, two Egyptian officers and a Western diplomat mentioned Sunday.

The risk to droop the Camp David Accords, a cornerstone of regional stability for practically a half-century, got here after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu mentioned sending troops into Rafah was essential to win the four-month-old conflict in opposition to the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

Over half of Gaza’s inhabitants of two.3 million have fled to Rafah to flee combating in different areas, and are packed into sprawling tent camps and U.N.-run shelters close to the border. Egypt fears a mass inflow of lots of of hundreds of Palestinian refugees who could by no means be allowed to return.

The stand-off between Israel and Egypt, two shut U.S. allies, comes as help teams warn that an offensive in Rafah would worsen the already catastrophic humanitarian state of affairs in Gaza, the place round 80% of residents have fled their properties and the place the U.N. says 1 / 4 of the inhabitants faces hunger.

Netanyahu, in an interview with ABC Information “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” recommended civilians in Rafah might flee north, saying there are “loads of areas” which were cleared by the military. He mentioned Israel is creating a “detailed plan” to relocate them.

However the offensive has triggered widespread destruction, notably in northern Gaza, and heavy combating remains to be happening in central Gaza and the southern metropolis of Khan Younis. A floor operation in Rafah might additionally pressure the closure of its crossing, reducing off one of many solely avenues for delivering badly wanted meals and medical provides.

All three officers confirmed Egypt’s threats, talking on situation of anonymity as a result of they weren’t licensed to transient reporters on the delicate negotiations. Qatar, Saudi Arabia and different international locations have additionally warned of extreme repercussions if Israel goes into Rafah.

“An Israeli offensive on Rafah would result in an unspeakable humanitarian disaster and grave tensions with Egypt,” European Union international coverage chief Josep Borrell wrote on X.

Israel and Egypt had fought 5 wars earlier than signing the Camp David Accords, a landmark peace treaty brokered by then-U.S. President Jimmy Carter within the late Seventies. The treaty contains a number of provisions governing the deployment of forces on each side of the border.

Egypt has closely fortified its border with Gaza, carving out a 5-kilometer (3-mile) buffer zone and erecting concrete partitions above and under floor. It has denied Israeli allegations that Hamas nonetheless operates smuggling tunnels beneath the border, saying Egyptian forces have full management on their facet.

However Egyptian officers worry that if the border is breached, the army can be unable to cease a tide of individuals fleeing into the Sinai Peninsula.

The United Nations says Rafah, which is generally residence to lower than 300,000 folks, now hosts 1.4 million extra who fled combating elsewhere and is “severely overcrowded.”

Netanayahu mentioned Hamas nonetheless has 4 battalions there. “Those that say that not at all ought to we enter Rafah are mainly saying lose the conflict, preserve Hamas there,” he instructed ABC Information.

Israel has ordered a lot of Gaza’s inhabitants to flee south with evacuation orders protecting two-thirds of the territory, even because it recurrently carries out airstrikes in all areas, together with Rafah. Airstrikes in town in latest days have killed dozens of Palestinians, together with ladies and kids.

Gaza’s Well being Ministry mentioned Sunday that the our bodies of 112 folks killed throughout the territory have been delivered to hospitals previously 24 hours, in addition to 173 wounded folks. The fatalities introduced the loss of life toll within the strip to twenty-eight,176 because the begin of the conflict. The ministry doesn’t distinguish between civilians and fighters however says most of these killed had been ladies and kids.

The conflict started with Hamas’ assault into southern Israel on Oct. 7, when Palestinian militants killed some 1,200 folks, largely civilians, and kidnapped round 250. Over 100 hostages had been launched in November throughout a weeklong cease-fire in change for 240 Palestinian prisoners.

Hamas has mentioned it will not launch any extra until Israel ends its offensive and withdraws from the territory. It has additionally demanded the discharge of lots of of Palestinian prisoners, together with senior militants serving life sentences.

Netanyahu has vehemently dominated out each calls for, saying Israel will combat on till “complete victory” and the return of all of the captives.


Magdy reported from Cairo.


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