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Egypt on Monday warned Israel that any attempt to reinstitute security control of the strip of land that separates the Gaza Strip and Egypt will result in a “serious threat” to relations between the neighboring countries.

The so-called Philadelphi Route is a 14 kilometer (nine-mile) corridor that runs all along the Egypt-Gaza border. Israeli leaders have recently talked about retaking control of the corridor — from which the IDF withdrew when Israel left Gaza in 2005 — to prevent arms from being smuggled to Hamas and other terror groups in Gaza overland and via tunnels. Egypt fears that a military operation on the border could push large numbers of Palestinians into its territory.

“It must be strictly emphasized that any Israeli move in this direction will lead to a serious threat to Egyptian-Israeli relations,” Diaa Rashwan, head of Egypt’s State Information Service, said in an online statement.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/egypt-warns-israel-that-attempt-to-take-over-philadelphi-route-will-damage-ties/

Aside the fear of a large number of Palestinians fleeing into Egypt, is there any other reason why it is against Israel occupying the southern border? The article mentions that Egypt might be against this because it fears that a military operation on the border could push large numbers of Palestinians into its territory, but it doesn't mention any other reason why it might be against this idea. Is there any other reason?

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    Pushing a large number of Palestians into Egypt is already a very good reason for Egypt to be against this, why would they need any other reason?
    – quarague
    Jan 25 at 8:21
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    If Israel will control the southern border, how it will let Palestinians to cross the border into the Egypt. Seems like no logic attached to the claims
    – dEmigOd
    Jan 25 at 9:57
  • @dEmigOd Perhaps it would push people towards Egypt because Israel would need to advance from North to South, causing those in their path to continue South (and into Egypt) before Israel actually takes control of the border
    – Flats
    Jan 25 at 21:08
  • @Flats, they can move from south to north, or from east to west [in your description]. But mostly they already need to be on the north of the corridor to start moving south.
    – dEmigOd
    Jan 26 at 8:33

1 Answer 1

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See Philadelphi corridor:

Following Israel's unilateral disengagement from the Gaza-strip in 2005, the Philadelphi Accord with Egypt was concluded, which authorized Egypt to deploy 750 border guards along the route to patrol the border on Egypt's side. The Palestinian side of the border was controlled by the Palestinian Authority, until the 2007 takeover by Hamas.2 The joint authority for the Rafah Border Crossing was transferred to the Palestinian Authority and Egypt for restricted passage by Palestinian ID card holders, and by others by exception.

The peace accord between Israel and Egypt designates the area as a demilitarized zone:

The 1979 Egypt–Israel peace treaty, in which Israel agreed to withdraw from the Sinai in exchange for peace with Egypt, stipulated that the border with Egypt would follow the border of Mandatory Palestine. The new border cut across Rafah, dividing the town and leaving families separated on both sides of the border. Rafah would be the main border crossing in Gaza. It was agreed that the area near the border (known as Area C) would be demilitarized, with Egypt only permitted to maintain police forces there.

Note that the Sinai is also demilitarized, as to prevent the possibility of Egypt quickly mounting an attack against Israel. The number of Egyptian troops allowed in Sinai is limited to a very small number (one or two thousand) although on some occasions Israel allowed Egypt to bring in more troops in the context of counter-terrorism operations.

Philadelphi agreement allows Egypt additional 750 border guards, while the other side should remain demilitarized and controlled by the Palestinian Authority.

Israel introducing a large number of troops into Philadelphi corridors and conducting active military operations there means re-militarization of the area, with potentially far reaching consequences. Egypt already finds itself in a difficult situation - dealing with the Palestinian refugees, being accused of allowing smuggling weapons into Gaza and Hamas members outside of it, and losing revenues due to the Houthi disruption of traffic through the Suez channel, while trying not to side with the US&UK anti-Houthi coalition. Egypt just doesn't want to be dragged any further in this conflict and be seen as aiding Israel's crackdown on Hamas.

Accoridng to Egyptian Mada Masr site, Israel claims that there are smuggling tunnels under the Hamas-Gaza border, while Egypt claims that the tunnels have been destroyed. The two sides do not trust each other:

Meanwhile, Israeli discussions regarding the Philadelphi Corridor continued in various forms. Two weeks ago, the Israel Broadcasting Authority announced that Egypt had declined an Israeli request to deploy joint forces along the corridor. The authority stated that “the Israeli request came out of concerns about the presence of Hamas infrastructure in the area east of Rafah, extending to the Philadelphi Corridor.” Egypt, in response, affirmed that “the area is devoid of aany tunnels.”

There are diverging opinions on what unilateral Israeli move into the corridor could mean:

However, if Israeli tanks “enter this area in large numbers and approach the Egyptian-Palestinian border near the Philadelphi Corridor, it would constitute a major violation of the peace treaty,” Abu Talib adds, noting that Egypt has reportedly cautioned Israel against such actions in this area, citing concerns over Egyptian national security. These warnings from Egypt have undoubtedly been conveyed to the United States as the third party to the treaty, according to Abu Talib, who continues to say that there are indications that the US is emphasizing the importance of Israel adhering to its commitments in this regard.

In contrast to this view, Ayman al-Raqab, a professor of political science at Al-Quds University, argues that the Philadelphi Corridor is Palestinian territory and, therefore, the Occupation does not require permission from Egypt to occupy it. Despite the anticipation of a significant intervention from Egypt in what he calls “Palestinian expectations,” Raqab asserts that “there is no longer a place for emotional takes in this world”. He believes that highlighting the issue in Palestinian news outlets may serve the purpose of shaming Egypt to take action, especially since Egypt previously claimed ownership of the corridor during discussions surrounding the delineation of maritime borders between Egypt and Palestine in 2021.

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Remark

Aside the fear of a large number of Palestinians fleeing into Egypt, is there any other reason why it is against Israel occupying the southern border?

It is not clear why the OP thinks that blocking the Philadelphi corridor would create more refugees fleeing to Egypt, rather than stopping them.

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  • On your remark: perhaps it would push people towards Egypt because Israel would need to advance from North to South, causing those in their path to continue South (and into Egypt) before Israel actually takes control of the border
    – Flats
    Jan 25 at 22:49
  • @Flats the point of controlling the corridor is to facilitate taking the rest of Gaza, not the other way around. Jan 26 at 6:05

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