Reports the Jerusalem Post:
Egypt: Israeli blockade ‘inhumane’
Egypt’s foreign ministry said that the country’s border with Gaza at Rafah remains open, despite media reports claiming the border was closed with exceptions for humanitarian or aid transfers.
“Since Israeli attacks commenced, Egypt has been adamant in keeping the Rafah crossing open continuously and exceptionally to allow for the passage of people and humanitarian aid convoys and to receive the wounded,” said the ministry in a statement, Ahram Online reported on Sunday.
[A]ccusations that Egypt was keeping the border closed are “in complete contradiction to facts on the ground.” In fact, the ministry said, it is Israel that continues its “inhumane” blockade on Gaza. The ministry demanded the blockade be lifted.
That’s sort of a funny demand from Egypt’s foreign ministry given that, according to the New York Times (and many others not cited here), Hamas’s latest attacks on Israel were really just a proxy fight against Egypt:
Egypt has infuriated Gazans by continuing its policy of shutting down tunnels used for cross-border smuggling into the Gaza Strip and keeping border crossings closed, exacerbating a scarcity of food, water and medical supplies after three weeks of fighting.
“Sisi is worse than Netanyahu, and the Egyptians are conspiring against us more than the Jews,” said Salhan al-Hirish, a storekeeper in the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahiya. “They finished the Brotherhood in Egypt, and now they are going after Hamas.”
To be fair, those are precisely the sorts of unsubstantiated rumors the Egyptian foreign ministry has apparently been working to dispel. So to that end, it published figures describing just how generous its not-inhumane (not-?)blockade has been to the people of Gaza:
Some 7,500 people, as well as over 1,200 tons of medical aid and food, have passed through the Rafah crossing, [the foreign ministry] said.
1,200 tons “since Israeli attacks commenced.” That sure sounds impressive. but is it really?
What follows are some figures provided by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the level of aid the Jewish state has been sending into Gaza (Israel publishes daily reports about the volume and status of material it transfers into the strip):
On August 7, 254 trucks carrying 4,718 tons of goods and supplies entered Gaza via the Kerem Shalom Crossing.
Among the trucks that entered were:
• 149 trucks carrying 3,129 tons of food
• 13 trucks carrying 106 tons of medicine and medical supplies
• 51 trucks carrying 407 tons of humanitarian supplies
• 5 trucks carrying 51 tons of agricultural supplies
For the mathematically-challenged, those figures indicate Israel transferred nearly four times as much humanitarian aid (by weight) into Gaza on just one recent day of the conflict than Egypt managed to send in total since it began (not counting whatever was smuggled in by tunnel).
And August 7 was not a complete aberration:
On August 6, 236 trucks carrying 4,196 tons of goods and supplies entered Gaza via Kerem Shalom Crossing.
Among the trucks that entered were:
• 131 trucks carrying 2,526 tons of food
• 5 trucks carrying 27 tons of medicine and medical supplies
• 43 trucks carrying 313 tons of humanitarian supplies
• 6 trucks with 110 tons of equipment to help repair infrastructure.
• 1 truck carrying 7 tons of agricultural supplies
A team of 22 doctors from the West Bank entered the Gaza Strip in order to assist current medical staff.
Granted, the figures from those two days are relatively high because the transfers they describe occurred during a cease-fire, but it’s difficult to argue with the cumulative volume — at least from a comparative perspective:
Since the beginning of the operation the following amounts were provided to the Palestinians via the Kerem Shalom crossing (data up to and including August 8):
• 4.44 million liters of diesel for the power station in Gaza Strip, 1.04 million liters for UNRWA
• 4.93 million liters of fuel
• 2.22 million liters of gasoline for transportation
• 2,676 tons of gas for domestic needs
For those of you trying to keep track, that’s more than twice the weight of food and medicine that Egypt professes to have transferred — in “gas for domestic needs” alone.
Listen up, Egypt: If Israel’s practices constitute an “inhumane” blockade, something tells me the people of Gaza would far prefer another one of those to whatever it is you want to call your own military’s siege.