Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Egypt tells EU it will send Palestinians to Europe in case of mass influx

Egypt tells EU it will send Palestinians to Europe in case of mass influx

Egypt is actively resisting pressure from the EU, which is trying to persuade it to accept Palestinian refugees, the Financial Times reported.
"You want us to take one million people? Well, I am going to send them to Europe. You care about human rights so much — well you take them [the refugees]," the newspaper quoted a senior Egyptian official as saying to his European counterpart.

According to an EU official who took part in the conversation, "the Egyptians are really, really angry" at Brussels for trying to force Cairo to accept refugees from Gaza. The Financial Times noted that the Egyptian authorities have made clear their position on the issue, which is that "forced displacement" of Gaza residents will not help solve the humanitarian crisis in the region, nor will it help resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

UN Under-Secretary-General Martin Griffiths told the Financial Times that Egypt had "been very constructive" from the beginning on the issue of providing humanitarian aid to Gaza residents, but was strongly opposed to opening the border to refugees. "What Egypt is very, very clear about is that they will not allow Palestinians from Gaza into Egypt, because they fear for a great influx which they will then have to take responsibility for, for an indefinite period."

According to the newspaper, the Israelis have taken the opposite position, saying they are willing to let people out of Gaza in large numbers, but they are not willing to let humanitarian aid through.

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) reported earlier that more than one million people, nearly half the total population of the Gaza Strip, have been forced to leave their homes in the Gaza Strip due to the massive Israeli shelling of the enclave. Israeli authorities told the UN that 1.1 million Palestinians would be evacuated to southern Gaza within 24 hours. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said militants from the radical Hamas movement were hiding in tunnels under homes and civilian buildings in Gaza City.

Hamas urged residents to ignore Israel's recommendation. The movement also called on the UN to take action against forced displacement. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said during talks with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in the Jordanian capital that he rejects the "forced displacement" of Gaza's population.

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