Why is the Rafah Crossing Closed?

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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is in Egypt to support Egypt’s mediation efforts and help de-escalate the situation following Hamas terror attacks on Israel.

The Chancellor and the Egyptian president discussed the humanitarian situation in Gaza. Egypt is a key to humanitarian aid as the Rafah Border Crossing is the only way in and out of Gaza.

Egypt’s role in the conflict is complex. Egypt opposed the formation of Israel and has fought several wars with Israel. However, Egypt also became the first Arab country to recognize Israel and has had mostly peaceful relations since.

Egyptian president reiterated Egypt’s commitment to keeping the Rafah Crossing open but blames Israeli air strikes for forcing its closure. Humanitarian workers say they don’t have a timeline for reopening.

Egypt sees itself as a key mediator, guarantor of humanitarian aid and the keeper of regional peace. Egypt is worried that if it admits more refugees, it would disrupt the goal of Palestinian statehood and cause the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel to fall apart.

The hospital blast in Gaza has increased pressure for diplomatic intervention. Public opinion in Egypt remains the same. People believe they have an obligation to help but don’t support the forced displacement of Palestinians.

The Rafah Crossing is not open in both directions because an agreement fell through between Egypt, US and Israel. Egypt refused to let foreign Nationals out unless aid was allowed in.

Egypt fears that if more Palestinians are displaced into Egypt, it would lead to similar displacement of Palestinians from West Bank to Jordan. This would disrupt the goal of Palestinian statehood.

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