Ambassador: Israel should not try to threaten Egypt -INTERVIEW

Hisham Mohamed Nagy Abdel Hamid​​​​​​​, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Arab Republic of Egypt

© APA | Hisham Mohamed Nagy Abdel Hamid​​​​​​​, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Arab Republic of Egypt

# 21 November 2023 15:11 (UTC +04:00)

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Hisham Mohamed Nagy Abdel Hamid was interviewed by APA Information Agency

Mr. Ambassador, it has been almost a month that the entire world’s world's attention has been focused on the Middle East region. I mean the conflict between Hamas and Israel. Fighting between Israel and Hamas continues. Eyes are also on Egypt, which borders Gaza. What can Egypt do, and what role can it play in order to prevent more bloodshed?

As you said, the region has been witnessing the conflict for more than a month now, and during this time, Egypt has worked to evacuate foreigners with dual citizenship, and at the same time, to allow humanitarian aid to enter Gaza through the Rafah border crossing. From a political point of view, Egypt has repeatedly played a role in achieving a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel. But this time, the issue got out of control and reached not the regional level, but the international level. The UN Security Council could not take a decision on this in many meetings.

Some countries claimed that Egypt blocked and restricted the entry of aid, but the truth is that Egypt did not close the crossing and was ready for aid to be delivered to Gaza quickly, immediately. Israel prevented the opening of the crossing point. The road of the precinct in the Gaza Strip was bombed several times in order to disrupt the passage of aid.

Some time ago, it was reported in the media that Egypt wants to prevent the mass flow of people leaving Gaza…

Egypt has made it clear since the beginning of the crisis that it will not be an alternative homeland for the Palestinians, for several reasons.

Those reasons are as follows:

- As in all the countries of the world, the territory of Egypt is a "red line" and a matter of national security.

- To reject Israel's settlement policy against the Palestinians.

- Not to solve the Palestinian issue by emptying the motherland, Palestine, of its citizens.

On the other hand, Egypt received a large number of wounded Palestinians from the Gaza Strip for treatment in Egyptian hospitals, along with children with cancer. Egypt has also tried to facilitate the delivery of its aid to the Gaza Strip and the reception and delivery of foreign aid to the Gaza Strip for the Palestinian people through Al-Arish International Airport. We note that there are 5 crossings connecting Israel with the Gaza Strip, and Israel has refused to allow them to be used to bring humanitarian aid.

On the other hand, Egypt facilitated the exit of foreigners with dual citizenship from the Gaza Strip to help them return to their country. Among them, there are people from Azerbaijan.

– In Egypt's concept of foreign policy, we have witnessed approaches to the Palestinian problem in stages - from a religious point of view, from the perspective of Arab nationalism, etc. At present, what is the place and weight of the Palestinian problem in the foreign policy concept of the Egyptian state?

– What has happened in Palestine so far and what is happening now is the main issue in the foreign policy of Egypt, as well as Arab and Islamic countries. Egypt considers the Palestinian issue a matter of national security and is making efforts to resolve it. A two-state solution is the most appropriate solution at all regional and international levels to achieve peace and stability. This issue is related to the establishment of the Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital within the borders of June 4, 1967.

Hamas, founded in 1987, is spoken of as the root of the problem, but the real origin of the problem lies in the Israeli occupation of about 75 years ago, until today, peace with the Palestine Liberation Organization, which was founded on May 28, 1964, and is headed by Yasser Arafat, who declared that he was ready for peace. not being. Rather, the Palestinian Authority, known as an observer member of the United Nations, was established on the basis of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

President Abdelfattah Al-Sisi emphasized that Egypt's position is as follows:

- An immediate and permanent cease-fire in the Gaza Strip without restrictions or conditions.

- Ending all actions aimed at forcibly relocating Palestinians to any location outside of their own land.

- The international community fulfills its responsibility to ensure the safety of the innocent civilian population of the Palestinian people.

- Ensuring the safe, fast, and continuous access and passage of humanitarian aid and Israel's international responsibility as an occupying force.

- Achieving a conflict resolution formula based on the two-state solution and the creation of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital on June 4, 1967 borders.

- Conducting an international investigation on all violations that are contrary to international law.

– How do you assess the criticality of this escalation for Egypt, that is, the real danger?

– Egypt rejects any source of threat to its national security. Israel should not try to threaten Egypt. If Israel expands its attacks, it will put the region in real danger, which could lead to the expansion of the conflict to the regional level. For this reason, we call on those who support Israel to put pressure on it to stop its hateful occupation.

– I would like to focus on the issue regarding attacks on Israeli tourists in Egypt. This factor can have a very serious impact on Egypt's tourism sector. That is, the economic influence of this war cannot be ignored. Does Egypt have any "A" plan to reduce the impacts of all these negative factors on the country?

– This is an individual case and is being investigated, but tourism continues at a good level, and tourism in Egypt is not limited to one area. Sharm Al-Sheikh remains one of the destinations that receive tourists. It is possible that what is happening will not affect the tourism sector.

– Yes, there was also information in the media that the Egyptian intelligence services warned the Israeli side that military tension would increase in the Gaza Strip and that Hamas was preparing a large-scale operation. While Israel's intelligence agencies did not react seriously to this warning. Did the Egyptian side really have any information or probability regarding the escalation of military tension in the Gaza Strip?

– I can say that the Office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denied this information and I think this answer is enough.

Other international organizations, including the UN, and most countries emphasize the importance of a two-state solution and call the sides to dialogue and a peaceful solution of the conflict. So, why is this two-state solution plan not being implemented?

– Let's put the question like this: who is the invader? Answer: Israel! The other side is the Palestinians, and their legal representative, or the umbrella that covers all Palestinians, is the Palestine Liberation Organization.

If the Israeli side is ready to go to a solution, why not? Negotiations can begin immediately to prevent armed aggression, which amounts to war crimes.

Let's protect civilians - babies, children, women, and the elderly - from daily bombings and deaths.

My question is to any parent in the world: would you accept your baby being killed in a incubator due to a deliberate blackout in hospitals?!

Does the destruction and bombing of mosques, hospitals, and homes, the shelling of UNRWA schools, the cutting off of water and electricity, and the restriction of food supplies give Israel the right to defend its own security?

The conflict has been going on for more than 50 days, in which about 14,000 Palestinians, including 5,500 children, have been killed. Others are under the rubble. Do you know that this figure is equal to the number of victims of the Russia-Ukraine war for a year and a half?

Therefore, deliberate killing is a means of forcibly displacing Palestinians from their land, and what Israel is doing is against international law and international humanitarian law. In these circumstances, it clearly violates the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949. This reflects double standards.

And the last question, what is Egypt's attitude towards Hamas?

– Egypt has repeatedly worked with both Hamas and Israel to save the situation and reduce armed conflicts between them. Therefore, we have relations with the parties in the region aimed at protecting the security of peoples and countries, and we hope that those responsible will try to stop the current conflict.

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