Egypt replies to ‘false Israeli allegations’ about smuggling weapons through borders with Gaza

Egypt has strongly denied all ‘false allegations’ that was circulated lately by several Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regarding any smuggling operations of weapons, explosives, or ammunition, into the Gaza Strip from Egyptian territory.

Egypt’s head of the State Information Service [SIS] Diaa Rashwan said in a Monday statement that all of these are false allegations including the claims about any tunnels between both sides of the border.

Rashwan mentioned several points in his statement, saying that it clears and clarifies all of the recent Israeli allegations.

Rashwan explained that: ‘All countries of 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.’

He added: ‘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 concrete wall 6 meters long above the ground and 6 meters below 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.’

Thirdly, Rashwan said that: ‘It is striking and surprising that Israel speaks in this unreliable way about allegations of arms smuggling from Egypt to Gaza, As the Israeli Army controls the Gaza Strip and possesses the most modern and accurate means of reconnaissance and monitoring, and its forces, settlements and naval forces surround the small Gaza Strip from three sides. Israel only sends accusations against Egypt without any Evidences.’

“Any claim that smuggling operations are carried out via trucks carrying aid and goods to Gaza Strip from the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing is an empty and ridiculous statement, because any truck entering the Gaza Strip from this crossing must first pass through the Kerem Shalom crossing, which is run by the authorities.

The Israeli army inspects all trucks entering the Strip. Also, the recipients of the humanitarian 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.” Rashwan stated.

He noted that “the true purpose of Israel’s claims is to justify its continuation of the process of collective punishment, killing and starving more than 2 million Palestinians inside the Gaza Strip, which has practiced for 17 years.”

Rashwan confirmed that ‘Israel’s continued marketing of ‘these lies’ is only an attempt to create legitimacy for its attempt to occupy the Philadelphia Corridor or the Salah al-Din Corridor, in the Gaza Strip 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 and serious threat to Egyptian-Israeli relations.” He said, adding that “In addition to being a country that respects its international obligations, Egypt is able to defend its interests and sovereignty over its land and borders, and will not mortgage them in the hands of a group of extremist Israeli leaders who seek to drag the region into a state of conflict and instability.”

Rashwan also “called on the Israeli government to conduct serious investigations within its army, state agencies, and sectors of society, to search for those truly involved in smuggling weapons to the Gaza Strip among them, for the purpose of profit.”

He explained that “many of the weapons currently inside the Gaza Strip are the result of smuggling from within 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.”

Rashwan also wondered: “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? especially in light of the full control of the occupation army over it, and that it does not have any kind of border with Egypt?”

He added that: “all 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 involvement in Israel, from its army, its state agencies, and sectors of society, in weapons smuggling to the Gaza Strip for the purpose of profit.”

Rashwan also implied to the seizure of many weapons, missile and explosives manufacturing workshops inside the tunnels in Gaza, which means that there is a high probability that it is a large part of Hamas’ armament and the Palestinian factions, manufacture locally and not through smuggling.

The statement said that “the arbitrary policies of successive Israeli governments have eliminated any prospects for a peaceful solution to the Palestinian issue and encouraged the secession of the Gaza Strip under the leadership of Hamas from the Palestinian Authority.”

Rashwan stressed that the full support and solidarity of the Egyptian people with the Palestinian cause is “certain and realistic without the slightest doubt’, and it comes in line with Egypt’s official stance 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.”

SIS head stressed that without any doubt, “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 al Sisi has warned against repeatedly.”

At the End of the statement Rashwan affirmed that such allegations dose not “serve the peace treaty that Egypt highly respects”.

He demanded the Israeli side to show its respect for “the peace treaty” and stop making statements that would strain bilateral relations in light of the current inflammatory conditions.

Egypt also called on ‘anyone who talk about its inability to protect its borders to stop making these allegations’, in light of the fact that Egypt has a strong army, fully capable of protecting its borders with all efficiency and discipline.

The statement also stressed that Egypt will continue its ‘positive and key role’ in order to solve all of the region’s problems, “and that none of these false allegations will succeed in dissuading Egypt from carrying out its internal, regional and international responsibilities.”






Egypt Today