October 17, 2023 | Flash Brief

Egypt, Jordan, and Other Arab Governments Reject Gazan Refugees

October 17, 2023 | Flash Brief

Egypt, Jordan, and Other Arab Governments Reject Gazan Refugees

Latest Developments

Jordan’s King Abdullah announced on October 17 that Jordan and Egypt will not accept refugees from Gaza. “That is a red line,” he said. Israel has issued repeated calls for civilians in Gaza to evacuate in advance of a prospective Israeli ground invasion. The Rafah crossing on the Egypt-Gaza border is currently the only possible exit by land, but Cairo has been reluctant to accept an influx of refugees.

Similarly, Turkey and Qatar, both state sponsors of Hamas, are refusing to take refugees even as both countries express support for the Palestinians. Algeria, Kuwait, and Malaysia, are openly siding with Hamas but have not said they would admit refugees.

Expert Analysis

“Iran, Qatar, Turkey, Malaysia, Kuwait, and Algeria have cynically boosted Palestinian jihadists for decades, which has brought misery and destruction not only in Gaza but also in the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, and Iraq — anywhere terror proxies operate. Each of these countries should be called on to take ownership of its terrible decisions.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“Egypt continues to dig in its heels, refusing to absorb Palestinians who will soon need to flee the war sparked by Hamas. In essence, Egypt does not want to alter facts on the ground that might weaken Palestinian claims on the territory. Cairo is therefore set to subject two million Palestinians to a brutal war, launched by Palestinians, in order to safeguard the Palestinian narrative.” — Jonathan Schanzer, FDD Senior Vice President for Research

“The hypocrisy of Arab governments who criticize Israel and empower Hamas is on full display for the world to see. Why is it that Israel cares more about saving Palestinian lives than the entire Arab world?” — Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

Rafah Crossing

U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on October 15 that Egyptian officials “agreed to allow Americans to depart to get safe passage through the Rafah crossing” and that Israel “agreed to ensure the area around there would be safe.” However, Sullivan said that Hamas is actively “taking steps to try to stop” people from leaving through Rafah.

Meanwhile, Egypt remains skeptical of Hamas given the group’s roots in the Muslim Brotherhood, which Cairo considers a threat. The possibility of Cairo providing a haven for displaced Gazans remains low.

Hamas Ties to Qatar and Turkey

Both Turkey and Qatar host operational Hamas headquarters and supply the terrorist group with significant material and financial support. In 2020, Ankara granted Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh Turkish citizenship. Haniyeh maintains residences in both Turkey and Qatar.

On October 11, Erdogan condemned the “indiscriminate massacre of innocents in Gaza” and warned Israel against “disproportionate and unfounded attacks on Gaza.” Doha is calling for an “end [to] the bloodshed,” all the while providing Hamas military leaders a platform for invective on Al-Jazeera, which is owned and operated by the Qatari government.

Malaysia, Algeria, and Kuwait Stand by Hamas

Historically, Malaysia has allowed Hamas operatives to freely pursue weapons development and other research on its soil. Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said on October 16, “we, as a policy, have a relationship with Hamas from before, and this will continue.”

The Algerian Foreign Ministry accused Israel of violating international law and is calling on the international community to intervene and safeguard the Palestinian people. Kuwait accused Israel of “blatant attacks” against Palestinians and “categorically” rejected Israeli calls for Palestinians in Gaza to evacuate.

Hamas’s Enablers Should Take Gaza Refugees,” by Mark Dubowitz and Jonathan Schanzer

Hamas Acts to Prevent Northern Gazans from Fleeing South,” FDD Flash Brief

U.S. Wrong to Involve Qatar and Turkey in Israeli Hostage Negotiations,” FDD Flash Brief


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