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Sisi, Biden Agree To Deliver Humanitarian Aid To Gaza Via Kerem Shalom Crossing

24.05.2024 20:42

Decision is temporary until legal mechanism is established to reopen Palestinian side of Rafah crossing.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and his American counterpart, Joe Biden, agreed on Friday to temporarily deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza via Israel's Kerem Shalom crossing.

In a phone call, the two presidents addressed the severe humanitarian situation in the Palestinian enclave, including the lack of essential supplies and fuel shortages affecting hospitals and bakeries, the Egyptian Presidency said in a statement.

The leaders also agreed to temporarily deliver humanitarian aid and fuel to the UN via the Kerem Shalom crossing until a legal mechanism is established to reopen the Palestinian side of Rafah crossing, the statement added.

The conversation also underscored the importance of efforts to implement a two-state solution.

Both presidents reiterated their rejection of all attempts to forcibly displace Palestinians from their land and affirmed their support for measures aimed at preventing the escalation of the conflict.

The White House separately said Biden "welcomed the commitment from President Al-Sisi to permit the flow of UN-provided humanitarian assistance from Egypt through the Karem Shalom crossing on a provisional basis for onward distribution throughout Gaza."

"This will help save lives," it said in a statement.

"President Biden and President Al-Sisi affirmed their commitment to work together to set the conditions for a durable and sustainable peace in the Middle East region," it added.

The call comes in the wake of a ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that ordered Tel Aviv to immediately cease its military offensives in Rafah.

Israel has killed more than 35,000 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip since a cross-border attack by Hamas that claimed 1,200 lives last October.

The operation has leveled most of the territory and created a humanitarian crisis. Despite concerns over the safety of civilians, Israeli forces invaded on May 6 Rafah, where over a million Palestinians had taken refuge. Since the assault, at least 800,000 people have fled the city.

In late 2023 South Africa filed a case at the ICJ, accusing Israel of failing to uphold its commitments under the 1948 Genocide Convention.

The UN court on Jan. 26 ruled that South Africa's claims are plausible and ordered provisional measures for Israel's government to desist from genocidal acts, and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

On the request of South Africa, on March 28 the UN court ordered additional measures, calling on Israel to ensure "unhindered provision" of urgent aid to Gaza as "famine is setting in."

*Writing by Mohammad Sio -

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