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Arab Countries Ask Israel To Open All Crossings With Gaza

Above photo: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with representatives of Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and the Palestinian Authority on Thursday March 21 in Cairo. State Department.

And demand immediate ceasefire.

The Palestinian Authority criticized repeated visits made by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to the region as futile for failing to make Israel comply with both the UN resolutions and ICJ’s interim orders.

After meeting the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Cairo on Thursday March 21, foreign ministers of five Arab countries issued a joint statement on Friday asking Israel to open all its border crossings with Gaza to allow for an increase in humanitarian aid to the besieged Palestinian territory.

The foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates also called for a “comprehensive and immediate ceasefire” and faster aid delivery to “address the dire needs of over two million Palestinians facing famine.”

There are six border crossings between Gaza and Israel. However, Israel closed all of them for the first three months of the war following its announcement of complete blockade of the territory. It only allowed opening of one of those crossings (Kerem Abu Salem crossing) for humanitarian aid on December 17, 2023 after international pressure.

In the last few weeks it has deliberately slowed the speed of clearing trucks with aid to Gaza from all operating crossings including Rafah on the Egyptian border creating a massive shortage of essential commodities such as food and medicine and pushing over a million Palestinians at the risk of death by starvation as per the UN.

Arab ministers reiterated the demand for full implementation of the UN Security Council resolution 2720 in December. This is the only resolution adopted by the Security Council on the Israeli war in Gaza, and it calls for greater access to humanitarian aid. Most of the other resolutions on Gaza to call for a ceasefire have failed due to repeated US veto.

The joint statement issued by the Arab ministers also reiterated their opposition to any Israeli plan to displace Palestinians from Gaza as several Israeli ministers have repeatedly threatened. It underlines the need for initiating the process to end the Israeli occupation by creating an independent Palestinian state.

Blinken has failed to stop genocide of Palestinians

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority (PA) criticized Blinken over his failure to stop Israel’s genocide of Palestinians in Gaza despite repeated visits to the region. The statement claimed every time Blinken visits the region Israel intensifies its aggression in Gaza.

The PA statement also blamed the international community for failing to make Israel comply with the UN Security Council resolution and the interim verdict of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) both asking for greater access to humanitarian supplies for the Palestinian. It underscored the need to hold Israel accountable for its war crimes.

This is Blinken’s sixth visit to the region since the war in Gaza began on October 7. During his visit on Thursday he met with Saudi leadership in Riyadh and foreign ministers of Arab countries and a representative of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) in Cairo. He will visit Israel on Friday.

Blinken has not clearly asked Israel not to carry out a ground offensive in Rafah, as demanded by most of the Arab countries. They maintain that any ground offensive in Rafah, where close to 1.5 million Palestinians have taken refuge, would be catastrophic.

Blinken has merely reiterated the position that any such offensive inside Rafah would be a mistake and claimed that he would try to persuade Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to seek an alternative method to “deal with Hamas which is necessary”, according to AP.

While Blinken was visiting Israel on Friday, the US presented a widely unpopular resolution in the UNSC which was vetoed by Russia and China as it not only did not call for an immediate ceasefire but also gave the greenlight to the invasion of Rafah.

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