Egypt has warned Israel that any attempt to occupy the part of land that separates the besieged Palestinian territory of Gaza with Egypt, known as Philadelphi Corridor, will result in a “serious threat” to ties between the neighbouring countries.
“It must be strictly emphasised that any Israeli move in this direction will lead to a serious threat to Egyptian-Israeli relations,” Diaa Rashwan, head of Egypt’s State Information Service, said in an online statement on Monday.
Rashwan stressed that Egypt would consider any attempt by Israel to occupy the Philadelphi Corridor area as a “violation of the security agreements and protocols signed between it [Israel] and Egypt.”
The Philadelphi Corridor is a 14-kilometre-long slice of land on the Egypt-Palestine border.
Israeli leaders have talked about seizing the corridor. Some extremist ministers in PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right government have also repeatedly called for ethnic cleansing of all Palestinians in Gaza.
Rashwan said Palestine’s western border was secure and that Israeli claims that weapons were being smuggled from Egypt into Gaza were false.
He added that such claims are announced by Israel “to justify its continuation of collective punishment” against besieged Palestinians in Gaza.
Relations at test
Israeli PM Netanyahu has said several times that the Philadelphi Corridor area must be under Israel’s control, a move that, if carried out, would separate the besieged enclave of Gaza from Egypt.
Egypt fears that a military invasion on the border could push large numbers of Palestinians onto its territory.
The war has greatly tested relations between Israel and Egypt. The two countries have maintained diplomatic ties since 1980, with Egypt having brokered a number of ceasefire deals during recent assaults on Gaza.
Throughout the current Israeli aggression, Egypt has accused Israel of plotting to nullify an independent Palestine by driving Palestinians from Gaza into Egypt.
Israel’s brutal war on Gaza — now in its 108th day — has killed at least 25,295 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and wounded 63,000, local authorities say.