Egypt announced in a statement on Thursday, 2 November, that Egypt would assist in the evacuation of “roughly 7,000” foreigners and dual nationalities from the Gaza Strip, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Assistant Foreign Minister Ismail Khairat stated that Egypt was getting ready “to facilitate the reception and evacuation of foreign citizens from Gaza through the Rafah crossing” during a conference with international diplomats. He estimated that these citizens “number at about 7,000” and represent “more than 60” different nationalities.
President Joe Biden called for a humanitarian pause in Gaza on Wednesday, 1 November, showing a shift of viewpoint from his previous steadfast support for Israel’s right to self-defense.
“I think we need a pause. A pause means give time to get the prisoners out,” Biden said.
Biden expressed his view after getting interrupted by a protestor during his campaign speech, who said: “As a rabbi, I need you to call for a ceasefire right now.”
The White House previously supported a humanitarian pause to allow critical aid into Gaza, despite the statements by National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby that said “the U.S. would not be drawing any red lines for Israel.”
The Conflict So Far
After a surprise attack conducted on 7 October by Hamas on a number of southern Israeli towns which resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1,405 people and more than 220 being taken hostage by Hamas, Israel launched a retaliatory bombing campaign against what it describes as ‘terrorist targets’ in the Gaza Strip.
At least 8,005 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip — including 3,324 children — and 20,242 others injured. Meanwhile over 114 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank and around 2,000 have been injured.
The priority of the Egyptian government since the beginning of the conflict has been deescalation and the securing of a path for aid to enter the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing. Israel bombed the crossing at least six times, and 80 aid trucks have crossed to Gaza so far, which UN officials warn is insufficient amid dire humanitarian conditions.
Most Western countries, with the United States at the forefront, have expressed unconditional support for Israel, despite the steadily rising death toll in Gaza. Meanwhile, the United Nations General Assembly has issued a resolution calling for a ceasefire.
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