Cairo: Cairopost, News Desk
Head of State Information Service (SIS) Diaa Rashwan, announced that the recent period has witnessed several statements by Israeli officials, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, containing false claims and claims about the existence of weapons’ smuggling operations, explosives, ammunition, and their components, into the Gaza Strip from Egyptian territory through several methods, including tunnels that claimed to be existed between both sides of the borders.
He added that what clarifies and confirms the falsehood of these allegations are the following:
= All countries around the world know well the extent of the efforts made by Egypt in the last 10 years, to achieve security and stability in Sinai and enhance security on the border between Egyptian Rafah and the Gaza Strip, as Egypt itself had suffered greatly from these tunnels during the fierce confrontation with terrorist groups in Sinai after the overthrow of the Brotherhood regime in June 2013 and until 2020, it represented a means for smuggling fighters and weapons to Sinai to carry out terrorist operations that claimed the lives of more than 3,000 martyrs from the army, police, and civilians, and more than 13,000 injured.
= This situation prompted the Egyptian administration to take broader steps to eliminate these tunnels once and for all.
A 5-kilometre-long buffer zone was created from the Egyptian city of Rafah to the border with Gaza, and more than 1,500 tunnels were destroyed.
Egypt also strengthened the border wall with the sector extending to 14 kilometers, by strengthening it with a 6 meters long concrete wall above the ground and 6 meters under the ground, so that there are three barriers between Sinai and Palestinian Rafah, with which any smuggling operation is impossible, neither above ground nor underground. Egypt has full sovereignty over its land, and has complete control over its entire northeastern borders, whether with the Gaza Strip or with Israel.
= It is surprising that Israel speaks in this undocumented way about the allegations of arms smuggling from Egypt to Gaza, which is the country that has military control over the Strip and possesses the most modern and accurate means of reconnaissance and monitoring, and its forces, settlements, and naval forces surround the small strip on three sides, and are content with the accusations sent to Egypt without any further evidence of it.
= Any claim that smuggling operations are carried out through trucks carrying aid and goods to Gaza from the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing is an empty and ridiculous statement, because any truck entering Gaza from this crossing must first pass through “Karm Abou Salem” controlled by the Israeli authorities, which inspects all trucks entering the Strip.
Also, the recipients of this aid are the Palestinian Red Crescent and United Nations relief organizations such as UNRWA, which adds further evidence of the falsehood of the Israeli allegations.
= The true essence of Israel’s claims is to justify its continuation of collective punishment, killing, and starvation of more than 2 million Palestinians inside the Gaza Strip, which it has practiced for 17 years.
= Also, Israel’s continued marketing of these lies is an attempt to create legitimacy for its attempt to occupy the “Philadelphia Corridor” or “Salah al-Din Corridor”, in Gaza along the border with Egypt, in violation of the security agreements and protocols signed between it and Egypt.
Here, it must be strictly emphasized that any Israeli move in this direction will lead to a serious threat to Egyptian-Israeli relations.
Egypt, in addition to being a country that respects its international obligations, is capable of defending its interests and sovereignty over its land and borders, and will not mortgage it in the hands of a group of extremist Israeli leaders who seek to drag the region into a state of conflict and instability.
This Egyptian red line joins the previous one, which Egypt has repeatedly declared, which is the categorical rejection of forcibly or voluntarily displacing our Palestinian brothers to Sinai, which Israel will not be allowed to pass.
Egypt was the initiative and agreed with Israel, in 2005 and 2021, to increase the size of the border guard forces and capabilities in this border region in order to secure the northeastern strategic direction, out of respect for the peace treaty with Israel, and so that the latter does not take any unilateral step on its part.
= The Israeli government must conduct serious investigations within its army, state agencies, and sectors of society, to search for those truly involved in smuggling weapons to Gaza, from inside, for the purpose of profit.
Many of the weapons currently inside the Gaza Strip are the result of smuggling from inside Israel, for example M16 rifles and types of RPGs, as well as dual-use materials in the military manufacturing of the military wings in the Gaza Strip.
Here, it is sufficient to review what the Israeli media publishes about the investigations taking place with members of the Israeli army, on the background of the disappearance of weapons or their sale in the West Bank and from there they are sent to the Gaza Strip.
= Speaking of the West Bank, can Israeli officials, who are spreading lies against Egypt, explain the source of the large quantities of weapons, ammunition and explosives spread in various areas of the West Bank, according to their official statements, in light of the full control of the occupation army over it, and that it does not have any kind of border with Egypt? Then, they will only find the same people involved, from their army, state agencies, and sectors of society, in smuggling weapons into the Gaza Strip for the purpose of profit.
= The information shows that most of the heavy weapons smuggling operations into the Gaza Strip take place across the Mediterranean Sea, where its shores with Gaza are completely controlled by the Israeli naval and air forces, which indicates the same type of people involved in Israel, from its army, its state agencies, and sectors of society, in weapons smuggling to Gaza for the purpose of profit.
= It is worth noting what the Israeli statements ignore, which is what was revealed by the Israeli army’s statements during the current war, especially the video ones, about the seizure of many weapons, missile and explosives manufacturing workshops inside the tunnels in Gaza, Which means that there is a high possibility that a large part of the armament of Hamas and the Palestinian factions will be manufactured locally and not through smuggling.
= These allegations and lies are a continuation of the policy of escaping forward followed by the Israeli government due to its successive failures in achieving its declared goals for the war on Gaza. It is looking for someone responsible outside of it for these failures, as it also did the same thing recently by accusing Egypt in the International Court of Justice of being the one preventing and obstructing Humanitarian aid entered the Gaza Strip, despite its full knowledge that Egypt did not close the Rafah crossing on its part, even for a single moment.
= The arbitrary policies of successive Israeli governments have eliminated any prospects for a peaceful solution to the Palestinian issue and encouraged the separation of the Gaza Strip under the leadership of Hamas from the Palestinian Authority, including turning a blind eye to the funding it receives and the stifling siege of the Strip.
These have led to the current conditions that Israel, from time to time, claims that Egypt is responsible for it.
These policies, for more than a decade and a half, are part of Netanyahu’s strategy to deepen the Palestinian division and ensure the separation of Gaza from the West Bank to weaken the Palestinian Authority, and to have the justification to refuse to enter into any negotiations on a two-state solution.
= The full support and solidarity of the Egyptian people with the Palestinian cause is certain and realistic without the slightest doubt, and is in line with Egypt’s official statue on supporting the rights of the Palestinian people in their independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital on the borders of June 4, 1967.
But this popular and official solidarity and support for the Palestinian cause does not conflict with securing our borders and preventing smuggling to and from it, and that supporting the Palestinian cause has many political ways that bear fruit until the Palestinian people obtain their legitimate rights, which Egypt has done publicly since the beginning of the recent crisis, and before that all the time in support of the brotherly Palestinian people.
= There is no doubt that such false allegations do not serve the positive Egyptian efforts made to resolve the crisis in Gaza, which has affected the entire region and made it ripe for expanding the circle of conflict, something that President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi warned against and sought to do repeatedly.
= The conclusion is that these false allegations do not serve the peace treaty that Egypt respects, and it demands that the Israeli side to show its respect for it also, and to stop making statements that would strain bilateral relations in light of the current inflammatory conditions.
Egypt calls on everyone who talks about its failure to protect its borders to stop making these allegations, in light of the fact that it has a strong army capable of protecting its borders with all efficiency and discipline.
Egypt will continue its natural positive role in order to solve all the problems of the region, and these false allegations will not succeed in dissuading Egypt from carrying out its internal, regional and international responsibilities.