A recent press conference held by Diaa Rashwan, Head of Egypt’s Sate Information Service, saw Mr Rashwan explain in painstaking detail Egypt’s view and stance regarding the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.
Mr Rashwan started by stressing that Egypt has always warned of the consequences of decades-long Israeli violence against Palestinians. Such violence has seen countless restrictions and humiliations imposed on the Palestinians who moreover frequently witnessed the Israelis brutally demolish their homes and leave them homeless, yet continue to aggressively build and expand Israeli settlements [on land occupied by Israel but regarded by Palestinians to be rightly theirs]. The long-time Palestinian resistance that followed was no surprise, Mr Rashwan said. “I do not seek to excuse, but to explain,” he stressed.
Egypt has thus always warned against abandoning the Palestinian cause which never “went away”, but has relentlessly imposed itself on the region. It has been a time bomb that exploded time and again, he said.
There is no way to resolve the persistent Palestinian Israeli conflict, Mr Rashwan said, without addressing the root cause of this conflict.
As Egypt sees it, Mr Rashwan explained, the Palestinian cause should be resolved within the pretext of International legitimacy and the UN Security Council’s several resolutions on that head. This, he said, was a matter unanimously approved by the participants of the Cairo peace summit that was held last week.
Mr Rashwan said that Egypt now warns against liquidating the Palestinian cause through forced displacement of Gazans from their land [into Sinai], stressing that Egypt will never allow any negative fallout on its national security which, he said, is a red line not to be crossed. Egypt demands an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, and the start of negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis.
“Egypt demands an end to violence against people and holy sites: al-Aqsa mosque and churches.”
Mr Rashwan cited the figures of the huge destruction worked by the Israelis till the day he gave the press conference: the 19th day since start of the conflict. He said that 12 hospitals were then out of service, 25 ambulance vehicles were destroyed, 181 residential buildings were demolished as well as 32 mosques, and three churches were damaged.
Only 54 trucks carrying humanitarian aid were allowed to enter Gaza from the Egyptian border, and no fuel was allowed in.
Egypt’s first priority now, Mr Rashwan said, was for humanitarian aid to enter Gaza, stressing that Egyptian medical facilities are totally prepared to receive the injured of Gaza for treatment.
On another note, Mr Rashwan said that Egypt sees it as absolutely vital that the hostage file should be opened, and is working hard on that front. Only the day before, Egypt had been pivotal in the release of two Israeli hostages.
Mr Rashwan pointed to Egypt’s unrelenting efforts on the diplomatic front, be that through bilateral talks with heads of State or senior officials who visit Egypt or connect by phone, or through the Cairo peace summit that was held on 21 October and saw huge international participation. He said that Egypt upholds the right to resistance stipulated by the UN.
Finally, Mr Rashwan’s last message to Israel and Hamas was: “No one of the two of you will remain while the other disappears.”