Humanitarian aid waits on the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing (Video clip)

The Israeli Defense Forces have firmly seized control of the Rafah border crossing, deploying tanks and troops along the Gaza-Egypt border, signaling a robust and enduring presence aimed at dismantling Hamas’s operational capabilities. According to local sources, this strategic maneuver is expected to persist, staunchly guarding against the infiltration of weapons and terrorists through clandestine tunnels from Sinai into Gaza.

A Gazan taking shelter in a hospital shared with the Israeli international news agency "Tazpit Press Service" a mix of concern and relief that: "Now that the IDF controls the aid that comes from Rafah, Hamas will not be able to take over." Although he did have concerns it seems over Egypt's willingness to allow trucks to cross over: "there is a serious fear that the aid will not arrive." Egypt has taken an unusual stance against Israel in Rafah, likely out of fear that Israel will discover the smuggling tunnels Egypt claimed were destroyed years ago in an operation that supposedly was aimed at halting illegal smuggling. It is suspected, many in Egypt's political elite have profited handsomly from the tunnels and therefore, are protesting Israel's takeover of the Rafah crossing out of fear these arteries will be discovered.

Notably, he also revealed widespread resentment towards Hamas leaders, blaming them for unprecedented hardships, marking what he described as "the greatest nakba in the history of the Palestinian people," desribing what the Palestinians call Israel's War of Independence in 1948 when 5 Arab armies failed to wipe out a few hundred thousand Jews and in fact, lost land as the new Israel waged a successful defensive war. Some refer to it as the displacement of Palestinians from their homes, but in most cases, those who left did so by choice as those who stayed, now make up the over 2 million Arab-Israeli citizens. 

Rafah’s Mayor, Ahmed al-Sufi, detailed a dire situation with around 150,000 residents displaced and an acute scarcity of basic necessities in temporary shelters throughout southern Gaza’s coastal areas, where Israel has directed evacuees.

The overnight Israeli operation last week, which took over the Gazan side of the Rafah border, was prompted by intelligence pinpointing the crossing’s use for terror activities. IDF forces effectively neutralized key Hamas targets in Rafah, including military installations and tunnel networks, with reports confirming the elimination of 20 Hamas militants.

In a dramatic twist, Hamas unleashed a rocket barrage targeting the Kerem Shalom border crossing, a critical point for humanitarian aid, resulting in the death of four Israeli soldiers. This attack led to the closure of the crossing, further complicating aid logistics.

The narrative of Hamas hijacking aid deliveries has taken a new turn with Israel’s intervention, potentially cutting off Hamas’s access to external resources through Rafah. The situation remains tense as Hamas had previously capitalized on controlling Rafah to divert aid intended for civilians. On Sunday, several Hamas operatives were found near United Nations Aid warehouses disguised as aid workers. They surrendered to Israeli forces.

As evacuation orders spread across Rafah, residents were urged through various communication means to relocate to safer zones, with maps and instructions provided by aid organizations to facilitate these moves.

The political and humanitarian implications of the border dynamics are complex, involving Egyptian interests as well, which have been criticized for profiting from the smuggling tunnels and restricting refugee passage unless hefty payments are made. Egypt also is refusing to allow humanitarian aid through the Rafah crossing now that Israel is on the other end to ensure its reciept. Many of the donors are complaining that the food is spoiling while Egypt refuses to allow it to cross over.

The October 7 attacks by Hamas remain a stark reminder of the ongoing conflict, with significant casualties on both sides and a number of hostages still unaccounted for, highlighting the volatile security situation at the border."

Sign Up For The Judean Newsletter

I agree with the Terms and conditions and the Privacy policy