Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has said that Israel’s activity in Gaza had “exceeded” its right to self-defense and had become collective punishment.
Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, said this on Sunday during a visiting meeting with the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Sissi, whose country shares a narrow border with the Gaza Strip that has remained largely blocked over the past week, said during the meeting that Israel’s “reaction went beyond the right to self-defense, turning into collective punishment for 2.3 million people in Gaza,” according to Egypt’s state-run media.
Blinken, who visited Israel on Thursday before heading to Jordan, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, was slated to return to Israel on Monday for further meetings as part of his diplomatic blitz surrounding the Israel-Gaza war.
Sissi also used his meeting with Blinken to falsely claim that Egypt never persecuted its now no longer existent Jewish minority.
“You said that you are a Jewish person,” Sissi said to Blinken in remarks in front of reporters. “I am an Egyptian person who grew up next to Jews in Egypt. They have never been subjected to any form of oppression or targeting and it has never happened in our region that Jews were targeted.”
Egypt’s Jewish community, which dates back millennia, numbered around 80,000 in the 1940s, but today stands at fewer than 20 people. The departure of Egypt’s Jews was fueled by rising nationalist sentiment after Israel’s founding in 1948 and during the Arab-Israeli wars, harassment, and some direct expulsions by then-Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser.
The US State Department readout on the Blinken-Sissi meeting said the two “agreed on the importance of addressing the humanitarian situation in Gaza to ensure assistance can reach people who need it and help keep civilians out of harm’s way.”
Blinken also stressed the US focus on preventing the conflict from spreading and facilitating the safe passage of American citizens and their family members from Gaza.