Cairo: Egypt is stepping up its military presence at its Rafah border crossing with Gaza, with fears that Israel intends to push hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees over the frontier into the Sinai desert, media reports said.
Cairo has said the expulsion of so many Palestinians from their homes would be breach of international law, and a national security risk for Egypt that is liable to bankrupt the country’s ailing economy, The Guardian reported.
Palestinians themselves, and other Arab states, fear refugees would never be allowed back to their homes.
Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi has said that Palestinians in Gaza must “stay steadfast and remain on their land.”
Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said he was in full agreement with Egypt.
Speaking in Cairo he said: “I repeat once again that we are inviting Israel to comply with international law. We are against the displacement of Palestinians. We will never approve of the policy of expulsion to Egypt.”
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry meeting his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock also stressed that he would not allow foreign nationals trapped in Gaza, including US citizens waiting by the Rafah gate, to leave unless Israel allowed aid convoys into the territory.
The refusal is one of the few bargaining chips that Sisi has, The Guardian reported.