The Rafah crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt was subjected to Israeli shelling for the second time in less than 24 hours, while Israel’s Channel 12 reported that the Egyptian side received an Israeli warning against allowing aid supplies into the Gaza Strip.
The shelling targeted the buffer zone between the Egyptian and Palestinian gates of the Rafah crossing, causing damage to the interior hall on the Palestinian side of the crossing, according to the French News Agency.
The Sinai Organization for Human Rights said Israeli warplanes bombed the crossing, forcing its closure again. After Israeli fire on Monday, the border was momentarily shut off.
Earlier today, the Interior Ministry in the Gaza Strip said the Rafah crossing administration on the Egyptian side notified crews on the Palestinian side of the need to evacuate the crossing due to Israeli threats to bomb it.
The Only Passage
The Rafah crossing is Gaza‘s only passage to the outside world. Egypt has kept it open most of the time since May 2018 after years of near-permanent closure, and it is the only passage for Gazans not controlled by Israel.
Meanwhile, Israel’s Channel 12 said Israel “warned Egypt against helping Gaza,” adding that the gist of the warning message was “If you bring supplies to Gaza we will bomb the trucks.”
However, the channel did not clarify the channel through which this message was conveyed to the Egyptian side, and there was no immediate comment from Cairo.
On Monday, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced a “complete blockade” on the Gaza Strip, cutting off all supplies of water, food, electricity and fuel, after Palestinian resistance groups launched the Al-Aqsa Sword battle against Israel on Saturday.
During previous wars on Gaza, countries and organizations used to send relief aid to Gaza through the Rafah border crossing between the Strip and Egypt.
The blockade is illegal
For its part, the United Nations confirmed on Tuesday that the complete blockade on the Gaza Strip – announced by Israel – is prohibited under international humanitarian law.
UN Human Rights Commissioner Volker Turk said in a statement that “imposing a blockade that puts civilians’ lives at risk by depriving them of basic goods essential to their survival is prohibited under international humanitarian law.”
The statement added that any restrictions on the movement of people and goods to implement the blockade may amount to collective punishment.
Turk said the shelling of Gaza by Israeli forces has resulted in civilian casualties.
However, he mentioned at the same time that he is “shocked and deeply angered by allegations of summary executions of civilians, in some cases constituting horrific massacres, by members of Palestinian armed groups,” in his words.
For its part, the World Health Organization called for a humanitarian corridor to the Gaza Strip, after Israel announced a complete blockade of the Strip.
In press statements made from Geneva, WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic called for an end to violence between the two sides in Palestine and Israel.
Jasarevic called for opening a humanitarian corridor to the Gaza Strip to deliver “critical medical equipment” to the population, after Israel tightened its blockade of the Strip.