Issue Brief on “A Regional Snapshot of the Ongoing Palestinian Crisis”

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On October 7, 2023, a significant turning point occurred in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict when the Al-Qassam Brigade, the military arm of Hamas, initiated an assault. In response, Israel declared a state of ‘war’ against Hamas, leading to a campaign marked by indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force against the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza. The human toll has been devastating, with over 20,000 lives lost and more than 1.9 million Palestinians displaced. As of 26 December, 2023, the death toll is almost 21000. Among these 70 percent are women and children according to the Gaza healthy ministry. [1]This escalation has prompted a reevaluation of international legal norms, the historical context of colonization, and the consequences of suppressing non-violent resistance through military means. Global mass protests and appeals from world leaders over the past month emphasize the urgent need to protect civilian lives and implement an immediate cease-fire.

The repercussions of this ongoing crisis are both regional and global. Palestine shares borders with Jordan to the east, and Egypt to the southwest. Its northern neighbors are Lebanon and Syria. The broader regional context involves key players such as Turkiye, Iran, and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, and Yemen. Influenced significantly by its geographic proximity to Gaza and the potential implications for its national interests, Egypt’s stance underscores the pressing concern of an influx of refugees resulting from the ongoing conflict. Egypt harbors apprehensions that such an influx may introduce substantial security challenges, strain already limited resources, and potentially destabilize its social and political stability. The call for “voluntary migration” of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip by far-right Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich has been deemed “irresponsible” by Egypt, as stated by Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, who characterized the statement as an expression of the Israeli government’s policy violating international laws.[2] Consequently, Egypt is actively engaging in cease-fire efforts and extending humanitarian aid to those impacted by the Gaza conflict.[3]

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