Egypt Threatens to Suspend Peace Treaty if IDF Operates in Rafah

By Hamodia Staff

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi speaks while meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, at Al-Ittihadiya Palace in Cairo, Sunday Oct. 15, 2023. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)

Egypt threatened to suspend its decades-long peace treaty with Israel Sunday if the latter follows through on plans to operate in Rafah, the last major stronghold of Hamas terrorists in Gaza and the presumed location of the hostages and remaining terror leaders, according to Arutz 7.

Rafah, located in the most southern part of Gaza, shares a border with Egypt. The Egyptians say that such a move by the IDF would jeopardize the flow of humanitarian aid sent into Gaza through its crossing, as well as cause Palestinians to breach the border and enter Egypt – a situation that Cairo has said is untenable and would result in terror attacks being launched from Egyptian territory. Egypt has repeatedly rebuffed suggestions from the United States and others that it should absorb Palestinian refugees.

But Israel says the offensive is crucial to reaching its goals; dismantling the remaining Hamas terrorist battalions and freeing the hostages. An estimated 136 Israeli hostages remain prisoner in Gaza, and IDF intelligence believes that both they and senior Hamas leaders, including October 7 mastermind Yahya Sinwar, are located in Rafah. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu says that Hamas still has four battalions of terrorists located there.

The United States has also cautioned Israel ahead of its planned operations in Rafah, with President Joe Biden telling Netanyahu that he should not conduct a military operation in the town without a “credible and executable” plan to protect civilians.

Netanyahu told FOX News on Sunday that there is “plenty of room north of Rafah for them to go to” after Israel’s offensive elsewhere in Gaza, and said Israel would direct evacuees with “flyers, with cellphones and with safe corridors and other things.”

In 1979, Egypt, led at the time by President Anwar Sadat signed a landmark peace treaty with Israel, led by Prime Minister Menachem Begin, facilitated by U.S. President Jimmy Carter. That treaty, known as the Camp David Accords, named after the U.S. presidential resort in which it was signed, has withstood every conflict Israel has engaged in since, as well as the 2011 Egyptian revolution which saw a new regime take over by force.

Previous reports indicated that Egypt had given Hamas an ultimatum, that the terror group must reach a deal with Israel in two weeks before Israel’s entry into Rafah. Hamas refused, and said that such an operation would cause negotiations for a hostage exchange to fall through.

Sunday’s warning from Egypt follows similar pronouncements made last week. Sources indicated that Egypt explicitly stated that even the crossing of one Palestinian refugee could nullify the peace agreement.

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