Egypt opens Gaza border crossing for Ramadan

Egypt opens Gaza border crossing for Ramadan as UN human rights chief blasts Israel’s killing of Palestinians and says they are kept ‘caged in a toxic slum’

  • Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein claimed that Palestinians are kept ‘caged in a toxic slum’
  • UN human rights chief spoke out after a week of bloodshed on the Gaza border
  • Israeli Ambassador said the state was protecting borders against ‘terrorists’
  • Comes as Egypt opened border crossing with Gaza for the month of Ramadan

The UN human rights chief has blasted Israel’s killing of Palestinians and said they are kept ‘caged in a toxic slum from birth to death’.

Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said Israel’s security forces had killed 60 Palestinians during Monday’s violence alone and that nobody has been made safer by the horrific events of the past week’.

His remarks come after a week of bloodshed in the region in the wake of America opening a new embassy in Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, Egypt has opened the Rafah border crossing with Gaza for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, President Abdel-Fatah el-Sissi has announced, in what would be the longest uninterrupted period since 2013. 

Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said he has ordered the opening of the Rafah border crossing with Gaza for the entire Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the longest length of time since 2013. Pictured: Palestinians wait to cross the border

Palestinians, who were wounded by Israeli soldiers during the protests receive treatment in Gaza City

Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said Israel’s security forces had killed 60 Palestinians during Monday’s violence alone and that nobody has been made safer by the horrific events of the past week’

Al-Hussein said at an opening a special session of the U.N. Human Rights Council: ‘End the occupation, and the violence and insecurity will largely disappear.’

However, Israel’s Ambassador Aviva Raz Shechter told the Council on Friday that Israel tried to minimise casualties when it defended its borders against ‘terrorists’ in Gaza, and blamed Hamas militants for using human shields.

Responding to criticism from the U.N. human rights chief at a debate that is likely to end by setting up an inquiry into recent violence, she said the Council had returned to its ‘worst form of anti-Israel obsession’.

‘This special session, the resolution before you, and its call for a commission of inquiry are yet again politically motivated and won’t change the situation on the ground by even one iota,’ she said. 

The UN human rights chief has blasted Israel’s killing of Palestinians and said they are kept ‘caged in a toxic slum from birth to death’. Pictured: A wounded protester during clashes along the Gaza border earlier this week

Palestinians wait to travel to Egypt through the Rafah border crossing, in the southern Gaza Strip

Meanwhile, Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said he has ordered the opening of the Rafah border crossing with Gaza for the entire Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the longest length of time since 2013.

Mr el-Sissi wrote on his official Twitter account late on Thursday that the opening would ‘alleviate the burdens of the brothers in the Gaza Strip’.

The announcement comes just days after Israeli forces shot and killed scores of Palestinians and injured more than 2,700 during mass protests along the Gaza border. The high number of wounded has overwhelmed the Gaza health system.

The crossing has been open since Saturday so Mr el-Sissi’s announcement is technically an extension of the opening and Egyptian authorities said 510 people crossed on Wednesday, the majority coming from Gaza into Egypt.

Mr el-Sissi wrote on his official Twitter account late on Thursday that the opening would ‘alleviate the burdens of the brothers in the Gaza Strip’

The announcement comes just days after Israeli forces shot and killed scores of Palestinians and injured more than 2,700 during mass protests along the Gaza border. The high number of wounded has overwhelmed the Gaza health system

On Thursday, 541 people crossed from Egypt into Gaza along with dozens of trucks carrying cement, steel, power engines and medical and food aid from the Red Crescent, the officials said.

In 2007, Hamas wrested control of Gaza by force, provoking the Israeli-Egyptian blockade that severely restricted the movement of most of Gaza’s two million inhabitants.

The Rafah crossing is Gaza’s main gate to the outside world but has only had sporadic openings since the 2013 ouster of Egypt’s elected Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, a high-ranking member of Hamas’ parent group The Muslim Brotherhood. 

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