Cairo, Oct 15 (EFE).- The need to stop the humanitarian catastrophe that is looming over the Gaza Strip in the face of Israel’s indiscriminate bombing has been the focus that the Arab countries of the Middle East have placed on the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, during his tour of the region aimed at defending Israel’s actions and preventing the conflict from expanding in the region.
During the last few days, the head of US diplomacy has visited Jordan, Qatar, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, where he ended a tour in which he has been “unequivocal” with Arab leaders about Washington’s support for Israel.
Blinken said, “Israel has the right and the obligation to defend itself.” Still, the questioned operations of the Jewish State against Gaza -which could constitute war crimes according to several NGOs- have forced the American to lower his fierce defense of his protégé in the Middle East after reaping harsh messages of condemnation from Arab countries on these events.
Forms “matter” to the US.
“The way Israel does it matters. It must do so in a way that affirms the values we share for human lives and dignity, and taking every precaution possible to avoid harming civilians,” Blinken told reporters from Cairo, where he met today with Egyptian President Abdelfatah al Sisi.
Al Sisi, the last stop on his tour, focused on the need to stop the bombing and the forced displacement of hundreds of thousands of Gazans in his meeting with the head of US diplomacy and the need to allow aid into the Strip.
The Egyptian president said he was “concerned about the reaction” of Israel, which he described as having “overstepped the right to self-defense and led to the collective punishment of 2.3 million Palestinians” who, moreover, have nowhere to flee.
“You need to hear this from us because we are the ones who know the region and live the day-to-day of what is happening,” he moved him after warning that the Palestinian enclave is “being besieged” and “reduced to zero.”
Before Egypt, Blinken repeated his visit to Saudi Arabia, where Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told him that his country condemned “any form” of attack targeting civilians and called for an end to the Israeli siege of Gaza and the escalation of violence.
Respecting humanitarian law was another request from the heir to the throne of the Arab monarchy.
Commitment to Gaza civilians According to the State Department, Blinken and Al Sisi “agreed on the importance of addressing the humanitarian situation in Gaza to ensure that assistance can reach those in need and help keep civilians out of harm’s way.”
More than 2,600 people have been killed by Israel’s relentless bombardment of Gaza, surpassing the total toll of the 2014 war, which lasted nearly two months and was the bloodiest ever experienced in the enclave.
The Arab League and the African Union denounced today that “an Israeli ground operation inside the Gaza Strip “could lead to an unprecedented genocide.”
For this reason, and in the face of the wave of criticism, Blinken acknowledged for the first time during his Arab tour “the humanitarian crisis that exists in Gaza.”
Shortly after leaving Cairo, he announced the appointment of David Satterfield as Special Envoy for Middle East Humanitarian Affairs, where he will coordinate the arrival of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.
Evacuation of foreigners Blinken’s visit to Egypt was also aimed at convincing Al Sisi of “the importance of facilitating the safe passage of US citizens and family members from Gaza.”
Cairo holds the key: the Rafah crossing, which connects Egypt’s Sinai with the Palestinian enclave and is the only border crossing not controlled by Israel.
Humanitarian aid is waiting to cross into Gaza at Rafah. Still, Egypt has complained that Israeli shelling has rendered the crossing inoperative on the Palestinians. However, it claims it is still open.
And, given Egypt’s refusal to be a direct witness to the “liquidation of the Palestinian cause” by allowing a new mass exodus of this battered community, it is making the evacuation of foreigners trapped in Gaza conditional on the entry of humanitarian aid, which Israel is not allowing to enter. EFE