May 13, 2024 | Flash Brief

Palestinian Authority Rejects Israeli Offer to Control Rafah Border Crossing

May 13, 2024 | Flash Brief

Palestinian Authority Rejects Israeli Offer to Control Rafah Border Crossing

Latest Developments

The Palestinian Authority (PA) rejected an Israeli offer to grant it control of the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza, Sky News Arabic reported on May 13. Rafah lies two miles inland inside Gaza and is the main route for goods and people between Egypt and the coastal enclave. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) captured the Gaza side of the Rafah crossing on May 7. Washington reportedly pressured Israel to turn control over to the PA, but the PA refused to assume control absent Israel’s commitment to Palestinian statehood.

Expert Analysis

“The Palestinian Authority is quick to go to the United Nations and demand recognition as a state. But when it comes to actually doing what is required of a state, such as manning the border of territory it claims, the PA is nowhere to be found.” — David May, FDD Research Manager and Senior Research Analyst

“Egyptian paranoia over Israeli control of the Rafah crossing is an exaggeration to hide what its corrupt security officials did over the years with Hamas. Sincere U.S. and Israeli efforts to ensure calm in Gaza have long been abused by Cairo. It’s time to put a stop to these dirty tricks if there is to be any hope of making sure October 7 isn’t repeated.” — Haisam Hassanein, FDD Adjunct Fellow

Hundreds of Thousands Evacuate Rafah

Israel has repeatedly called on civilians to evacuate Rafah ahead of the IDF’s advance into the southern Gaza city. Approximately 360,000 civilians have left Rafah for a nearby humanitarian zone since Israel’s Rafah operation began on May 6. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin before the operation commenced that “military action is required” in Rafah in order to achieve “the goals of the war—the destruction of Hamas as a military and governing authority, and the return of 132 hostages.”

Egypt Refuses to Assist Humanitarian Efforts

Egypt is refusing to coordinate aid deliveries through the Rafah border crossing in protest of Israel’s Rafah operation. A senior Egyptian official told Egypt’s state-run news agency that Cairo holds Israel “responsible for the deterioration of the situation in the Gaza Strip.” The official added that Egypt “won’t be able to guarantee the safety” of aid convoys because Hamas could target the trucks “while they are trying to target Israelis.” Since October, Egypt has also repeatedly refused to accept displaced Palestinian civilians.

IDF Takes Control of Gaza Side of Rafah Crossing,” FDD Flash Brief

Israel Calls on Civilians to Evacuate Rafah,” FDD Flash Brief

Egypt Threatens to Suspend Peace Treaty With Israel,” FDD Flash Brief

Issues:

Egypt Israel Israel at War Palestinian Politics