The Hamas terrorist group hid some of its members in ambulances transporting the wounded from the Gaza Strip to the Rafah border crossing, prompting Egypt to close the crossing again, including to foreigners authorized to use it.
As a result, the 34 people awaiting repatriation to Brazil in Gaza face yet another possible postponement. They had no longer been included in the sixth wave of permissions to leave the territory this Wednesday morning (8), which had beneficiaries from Ukraine (228 citizens), Philippines (107), United States (100), Germany (75), Romania (51) and Canada (40).
The incident, according to people with knowledge of the matter in Tel Aviv and Cairo, angered both governments, which have been coordinating efforts to evacuate the most seriously injured in the Israeli campaign against Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since 2007 and started a war against the Jewish State a month ago.
On Saturday (4), Egypt had already suspended the departure after Israel targeted an ambulance on the grounds that it was transporting terrorists. Hamas denies this, and says that 15 civilians died in the action. In any case, a new agreement was reached and, from Monday (6), the ambulances began to be accompanied by the Red Crescent/Red Cross in the region.
On Tuesday (7), lists with authorizations for foreigners were again issued. This Wednesday, it is still unclear when the presence of Hamas infiltrators was noticed among the injured, but the atmosphere soured again in what the US State Department called a “security incident”.
Israel’s ambassador to Brazil, Daniel Zohar Zonshine, released a note this Wednesday afternoon in which he alluded to the issue, without mentioning the episode in detail. “Hamas is making cynical use of the foreign civilian population in the middle of the war and has prevented foreigners,” he said.
The statement aimed to respond to criticism from the left that the country was retaliating against Brazil for its conduct at the head of the UN Security Council in October, which sought consensus solutions that displeased Israel.
“The State of Israel is making efforts to evacuate all foreigners from 20 different countries and to increase the quota in order to compensate for the delay caused by Hamas,” he said. His report, although without details, matches what was done by people in the region.
Everything indicates that the suspension could come to an end this Thursday (9). In any case, the announcement that Brazil was off the list was particularly painful for the group under the protection of Itamaraty, such as São Paulo merchant Hasan Rabee, 30, who the day before had posted an optimistic message on Instagram predicting his departure. for this Wednesday.
He was apparently based on the promise made by Israeli Foreign Minister, Eli Cohen, to his Brazilian counterpart, Mauro Vieira, on Friday (3). The problem, however, was the closure of the border on Saturday.
In total, counting this Wednesday’s announcement, around 4,100 people have already received these passes, but not Brazilians.
The fact is that the authorizations are complex, they pass through four countries with Egypt’s final voice, and Brazil is not exactly an important regional actor. Considering the deadline given by Cohen, it is possible to speculate that the solution to the Brazilians’ case will be found at the end of this week, if the situation returns to normal.
The Brazilian refugees are in two groups, one of 18 in Rafah and the other of 16 in Khan Yunis, 10 km from there. They report daily difficulties in living, and Israeli bombings continue constantly in the cities.
Meanwhile, the Brazilian Embassy in Cairo is preparing to welcome the refugees, who will receive medical attention before boarding the return flight in a VC-2, the presidential transport version of the Embraer-190. The plane is in Cairo.
So far, 1,410 Brazilians and 3 Bolivians from Israel have been repatriated during the crisis, in addition to 32 Brazilians from the West Bank, the other half of the Palestinian state that never fully came to light after the Oslo agreements in 1993. In 2007, Hamas took Gaza for himself, crystallizing the division among the region’s Arabs.
(Igor Gielow / Folhapress)
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