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Palestine calls on US to press Israel to open Rafah crossing

On Wednesday, the Palestinian health minister called on the United States to use its influence to persuade Israel to open the Rafah crossing. The crossing is critical for bringing in essential humanitarian and medical supplies, but there is currently no sign that Israeli authorities will allow it to open in the near future.

Reuters WORLD
Published May 29,2024

The Palestinian health minister on Wednesday urged the United States to pressure Israel to open the Rafah crossing, used to bring in humanitarian and medical supplies, saying there was no indication that Israeli authorities would open it soon.

Rafah was a major entry point for humanitarian relief before Israel stepped up its military offensive on the Gaza side of the border earlier this month and seized control of the crossing from the Palestinian side.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that its closure has significantly affected its ability to deliver essential medical supplies into the Gaza Strip, which has been targeted by an Israeli offensive since the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas in southern Israel.

"There is no indication when they want to open it," the Palestinian minister, Majed Abu Ramadan, told reporters on the sidelines of the World Health Assembly in Geneva.

"However, I would expect that all our friends and the international community to press hard, and especially the United States of America, they have to press hard in order to open that."

Abu Ramadan said the crossing's closure "complicates the situation, making it "really very, very catastrophic". Israel sent its tanks into Rafah for the first time on Tuesday, despite an order from the International Court of Justice to end its attacks on the city.

Around one million people have fled the Gazan city in the past three weeks to take refuge from bombardment across the densely populated enclave, according to the U.N. Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA).