Just three days after opening the Rafah crossing with Egypt, this weekend the departure of foreigners and Palestinians with dual nationality from Gaza has been suspended. The Palestinian authorities decided to close this border on Saturday after the bombing the previous day of a convoy of five ambulances carrying wounded people from Al Shifa hospital to Rafah.
In this attack by the Israeli Army, 15 people died and more than 60 were injured at the gates of the medical center, which has unleashed outrage around the world along with the bombings of schools. Although Israel recognized the attack, it justified it by claiming that Hamas terrorists were in the ambulances.
According to ‘The New York Times’, citing US Government sources, the Islamist organization has tried to sneak its guerrillas onto the lists of wounded who had to be evacuated. In his opinion, a third of the first list were militiamen, which was unacceptable to the United States, Israel and Egypt.
After Friday’s bombing, Palestinian and Egyptian authorities demand security guarantees from Israel to continue with the evacuation. After the departure of several hundred people since Wednesday, on Saturday there was a list that included 386 American passports, 112 British, fifty French and another fifty German. But, after being summoned at seven in the morning at the Rafah crossing, none of them were able to leave Gaza. “We are disappointed by the temporary closure of the Rafah crossing,” the British Foreign Office confirmed to the BBC, which acknowledged that the situation was “complex and difficult” and that “all diplomatic channels are being used to reopen it.”
For its part, Egypt asks the United States for a “security commitment” so that the evacuation of the wounded is carried out without the risk of the convoys being attacked by Israel, reports the Saudi television channel Al Arabiya and the state newspaper reports. Arham. In addition, Cairo demands that fuel can enter the Gaza Strip along with the rest of humanitarian aid, since it is still prohibited by Israel for the moment.
The Palestinian General Crossing and Border Authority did not publish today any list of people authorized to leave Gaza. As the images of the television signal broadcasting live from Rafah showed, the pass was empty, without the crowds of previous days.
After the evacuation of other Europeans, between 140 and 170 people with Spanish passports were scheduled to leave imminently, but they will have to continue waiting. Their extraction seemed a done deal on Thursday, when the acting Minister of Defense, Margarita Robles, announced that they would leave “between today and tomorrow.” Four days later, it is still unknown when they will be able to leave the Gaza Strip.
While its duration is clarified, this temporary suspension will further delay the evacuation of the 7,000 foreigners and Palestinians with dual nationality who, according to Egypt’s calculations, were going to leave through Rafah. An extremely slow and difficult operation that, at a rate of about 500 people a day, was going to last about two weeks, but will now take a little longer.
Meanwhile, those that can continue to cross the Rafah crossing are the trucks with humanitarian aid, since thirty of them entered Gaza on Saturday, as confirmed by the UN. Late in the afternoon, Hamas sources confirmed to France Presse that “the crossing is closed because Israel prohibits the wounded from crossing into Egypt for treatment.” For this reason, “no foreigner will be able to leave while the wounded remain blocked.” Just when hope had been raised that foreigners and Palestinians with dual nationality would be evacuated, it has been closed again with Hamas slamming the door in Rafah.