Biden: Egypt agrees to allow aid into Gaza

U.S. President Joe spoke to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi from Air Force One concerning securing humanitarian aid for Palestinians in Gaza. Photo courtesy of President Joe Biden/X
U.S. President Joe spoke to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi from Air Force One concerning securing humanitarian aid for Palestinians in Gaza. Photo courtesy of President Joe Biden/X

Oct. 19 (UPI) -- Egypt has agreed to open its border with Gaza to allow limited humanitarian aid into the Palestinian enclave that has been devastated by nearly two weeks of war, U.S. President Joe Biden said late Wednesday.

The American president announced the development at Ramstein Air Base in Germany en route back to the United States following a day trip to Tel Aviv where one of his missions had been to secure humanitarian aid for Gaza.


He told told reporters he had just gotten off the phone with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah El-Sisi who has agreed to open the Rafah border crossing -- the only port of entry into Gaza not under the Israelis' control -- to allow 20 trucks of humanitarian assistance into the blockaded Palestinian region.

The trucks could begin driving into Gaza as soon as Friday after roads bombed in Israeli attacks are patched, which is expected to take about eight hours to complete on Thursday, he said.


Biden referred to the nearly two dozen trucks as a "first tranche," suggesting further convoys could gain access to Gaza. He said there are 150 more trucks and whether they will be allowed in will depend on how the first trip goes.

"Look, if you have an opportunity to alleviate the pain, you should do it. Period," Biden said. "And if you don't, you're going to lose credibility worldwide. And I think everyone understands that."

Biden had landed in Israel early Wednesday as the situation in the blockaded Palestinian region was deteriorating under incessant Israeli bombardment. The enclave has been without water and electricity for days while food and medicine were near depleted.

The United Nations estimates that up to 1 million Gazans have been displaced, while Israel has ordered some 1.1 million to evacuate the northern half of the enclave ahead of a widely expected ground invasion.

Meanwhile, tons of aid for hundreds of thousands of people remained out of reach on the other side of the Rafah border crossing in Egypt.

The United Nations has been calling for aid to be allowed unfettered entrance into Gaza, with the it aid chief, Martin Griffiths, telling the Security Council on Wednesday that they urgently need a mechanism agreed to by all parties to allow for regular shipments of emergency goods for Gaza of upward of 100 trucks a day.


The American president had spoken Wednesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his security cabinet, and secured an agreement concerning aid for Gaza.

A statement from the Office of the Israeli Prime Minister states that though they will not permit aid to enter Gaza from its borders as long as Hamas maintains hostages, "Israel will not prevent humanitarian assistance from Egypt as long as it is only food, water and medicine for the civilian population located in the southern Gaza Strip."

The presidency of Egypt confirmed in a statement that Biden and Sisi had reached an agreement on the delivery of humanitarian aid through the Rafah crossing "in a sustainable manner," further suggesting that a mechanism was being put in place to facilitate further shipments.

Biden explained that Sisi was opening the border for "this purpose" and it wasn't being done to "allow a lot of people out," as more than 2.2 million people are penned in the strip, including foreign nationals, U.S. citizens among them.

Biden told reporters that he is "hopeful" they will get Americans out soon and that they are continuing to work toward that end.

Biden also explained that he has committed for the aid to cease if it ends up in Hamas' hands or if the militant group prevents the United Nations workers from distributing it.


"If Hamas confiscates it or doesn't let it get through ... then it's going to end because we're not going to be sending any humanitarian aid to Hamas."

"That's the commitment that I've made."

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