Exodus to Sinai


René Wadlow – TRANSCEND Media Service

Calls from both governments and non-governmental organizations for a cease-fire in the Hamas-Israel armed conflict having not been acted upon, attention is now centered on a potential Israeli military land invasion of the Gaza Strip.  Attack from the air have already been very destructive of civilian institutions.  Many persons have had their homes destroyed and have taken shelter in schools and other public buildings.  There are signs that the situation will grow more violent.  There are no negotiations in sight.

Thus, many people living in Gaza would want to leave in order to find safety.  Passage to Israel is impossible; the frontier is now blocked, and the Israeli government considers all those living in Gaza as potential enemies.  Therefore, the only frontier post open is that of Rafah, leading to the Egyptian territory of Sinai.  However, for the moment, the Egyptian government, fearing a mass exodus, refuses to open the Rafah post to a large number of people.  Some Palestinians  fear that if there is a mass migration to Sinai, this would be a form of “ethnic cleansing” of Gaza.  The population would then be replaced by Israelis.  On a more positive note, potentially the Rafah crossing could be used to bring in humanitarian supplies for Gaza collected in Egypt and elsewhere.

At this point, there should be governmental and NGO appeals to the Egyptian government to open the Rafah post to a large number of people.  Facilities to meet the needs of refugees should be prepared.  It is unlikely that people will spend 40 years in Sinai waiting to enter the promised land.  However, current security is vital, and negotiations for longer-range conflict settlements need to start.


René Wadlow is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment. He is President of the Association of World Citizens, an international peace organization with consultative status with ECOSOC, the United Nations organ facilitating international cooperation and problem-solving in economic and social issues, and editor of Transnational Perspectives.

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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 16 Oct 2023.

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