Egypt says Gaza displacement unacceptable, but will deal with civilians humanely

Speaking to France's Macron, Sisi reiterates Egypt's opposition to relocating Palestinians to Egypt; meanwhile, North Sinai governor says armed forces establishing logistics zone to receive aid for Gaza

Egypt's foreign minister said on Saturday that while his country would deal with civilians humanely, the displacement of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip remained unacceptable.
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"It is not our intention to provide any safe areas or facilities, but necessarily if this was a case we will deal with the humanity that is necessary," Sameh Shoukry said at the Munich Security Conference.
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בנייה אל מסורה במצרים
בנייה אל מסורה במצרים
Walled compound constructed in Egypt's Sinai
(Photo: EPA/STR)
Reuters reported on Friday that Egypt was preparing an area at the Gaza border that could accommodate Palestinians in case an Israeli military offensive into Rafah prompts an exodus across the frontier. Sources described this as a contingency move. Egypt has repeatedly denied making such preparations.
"This is very hypothetical. We have constantly been dealing with maintenance on our border so I think it is jumping to conclusions to what those activities constitute," Shoukry said of construction activity seen around the border.
Speaking to the press on Saturday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stressed that Israel would continue to pursue the war in Gaza until "absolute victory" and that expanding the IDF's ground offensive into Rafah was instrumental in achieving that goal.
Netanyahu insisted that "anyone who wants to prevent us from acting in Rafah is essentially telling us to lose the war. I will not allow that to happen."
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi spoke with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron about the issue on Saturday. They addressed the risks associated with any military escalation in Rafah, highlighting the dire humanitarian implications. El-Sisi reiterated Egypt's opposition to relocating Palestinians to Egypt.
Meanwhile, the governor of North Sinai said on Saturday that the armed forces are establishing a logistics zone to receive aid for Gaza.
The area being established includes parking areas for trucks, warehouses, administrative offices and accommodation for drivers, the governor said.
Egypt has repeatedly raised the alarm over the possibility that Israel's devastating Gaza offensive could displace Palestinians into Sinai - something Cairo says would be completely unacceptable - echoing warnings from Arab states such as Jordan.
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יחיא סינוואר, ראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו, נשיא מצרים עבד אל-פתאח א-סיסי
יחיא סינוואר, ראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו, נשיא מצרים עבד אל-פתאח א-סיסי
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar
(Photo: Reuters/ Saudi Press Agency/Handout, Yariv Katz, AP)
The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, citing official sources in Cairo, that Egyptian authorities are concerned about a potential Israeli operation in the Rafah area. As a result, a walled compound spanning approximately 13 square kilometers has been constructed in the Sinai Peninsula. According to these sources, the newly built area could accommodate up to 100,000 people.
The governor of North Sinai head repeatedly denied that the area was intended for displaced Palestinian. The wall, whose construction is ongoing and whose photos have been circulating, is expected to prepare the area for the reception of at least 1.5 million residents of Gaza who were evacuated from their homes and directed to Rafah.
Since then, they have been crowded in tents or open areas near the sea, not far from the official border between Gaza and Egyptian Rafah.
Egyptian contractors working to prepare the area near the border with Gaza and constructing the wall claim that its initial height will be seven meters. "If necessary, we will raise it even further," they said.
Homes of Sinai's Bedouin residents built in this area, currently used for their dwelling, will be demolished to make way for the new project. These contractors were originally designated for reconstructing Gaza, including the development of new residential buildings to replace those destroyed in IDF strikes.
Israeli sources assess that top Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Mossad, the Shin Bet and intelligence officials, along with high-ranking U.S. officials, are involved in the development of the Sinai compound and have agreed to keep this information confidential.
However, no party has confirmed or denied the construction of the project and plans to relocate Gazans to Sinai.
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