Photo by Majdi Fathi/TPS on 7 December, 2023

Hamas Trying to Drag Egypt Into War With Threat of Refugees

Public By Baruch Yedid/TPS • 10 December, 2023

Jerusalem, 10 December, 2023 (TPS) -- To head off Hamas attempts to draw Egypt into the Gaza war with the threat of mass migration, Cairo is considering a mechanism Palestinian refugees to enter the Sinai and then be dispersed to other African countries.

“This is an effort by Hamas to drag Egypt into a conflict with Israel, as Egypt has recently made it clear on many occasions that the migration of Gazans to the Sinai territories is considered a violation of Egyptian national security,” a Palestinian source told the Tazpit Press Service.

Hamas has been calling on Palestinians to flee to Rafah, a Palestinian town the Egyptian border where the Rafah border crossing is located. It is the only Gaza border crossing not controlled by Israel. The rising number of Palestinians in Rafah is increasing the pressure on Egypt to allow them to shelter in the Sinai.

But Cairo has been steadfast in its refusal to allow this, saying an influx of Palestinians would undermine Egyptian security in the Sinai. Egyptian officials warn that refugee camps in the Sinai or along the Gaza-Egypt border will become armed.

Osama Hamdan, a senior Hamas official in Lebanon alluded to the terror group’s pressure on Egypt on Saturday when he said, “The attempt to displace the Palestinians will not succeed, and that in such a situation, resistance bases will be established on the border line with Egypt.”

On Saturday, Hamas fired missiles in the direction of Tel Aviv the al-Mawasi area, a humanitarian zone in southern Gaza where an estimated 1.8 million Palestinians have evacuated to. By deliberately drawing Israeli retaliatory fire to al-Mawasi, Hamas encourages more Palestinians to move towards Rafah.

Al-Akhbar, a Lebanese paper close to Hezbollah, reported on Saturday that Egypt is weighing the establishment of a process to allow Palestinians to leave Gaza and continue on other African countries in an orderly and documented process without remaining on Egyptian soil.

In response to an Israeli request to take in Palestinian refugees in October, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi said that, “If the Palestinians are transferred to Egypt…Sinai will be a base for operations against Israel and in this case, Egypt will be labeled as a base for terrorists.”

Sisi added, “If there is an idea to ​​displace Palestinians from Gaza, why not transfer them to the Negev until the armed groups in Gaza, such as Hamas and [Palestinian Islamic Jihad], are eliminated?”

A long line of Egyptian journalists and social media personalities have harshly attacked Hamas and called on Sisi to protect Egyptian sovereignty. Many noted that in 2008, Hamas blew up parts of Egypt’s border wall, allowing as many as 700,000 Palestinians to freely enter the Sinai. It took Egypt about one month to restore full control of the Gaza border.

At least 1,200 people were killed in Hamas’s attacks on Israeli communities near the Gaza border on Oct. 7. Hamas currently holds 137 men, women, children, soldiers and foreigners captive in Gaza. Some people remain unaccounted for as Israeli authorities continue to identify bodies and search for human remains.