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Ombudsman: Israel withdraws permission for foreigners to evacuate from Gaza via Rafah crossing

by Nate Ostiller October 14, 2023 11:07 PM 2 min read
The Rafah border crossing from Gaza into Egypt on Aug. 27, 2023. (Said Khatib/AFP via Getty Images)
This audio is created with AI assistance

Israel's Foreign Ministry revoked their previously granted permission for foreigners to be evacuated from Gaza using the Rafah border crossing into Egypt, Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets said on television on Oct. 14.

Lubinets said that Israeli authorities withdrew from the agreement just two hours before the planned evacuation was to begin, saying they could not guarantee the safety of those using the crossing.

Ukraine's Foreign Ministry made an official complaint, as did Ukraine's Ambassador to Israel, Yevhen Korniichuk, according to Lubinets. Other countries also officially protested the decision, Lubinets said, or plan to.

Egyptian authorities had made the crossing open from their side, so it is unclear why Israeli authorities revoked their permission suddenly.

Reporting by CNN and other organizations found that foreign nationals arrived on Oct. 14 at the crossing at the time they had been told, but no one was there to open the gates. They waited for further directions that apparently did not arrive.

Earlier on Oct. 14, it was reported that a deal had been struck between Israel, Egypt, and the U.S. to allow for the evacuation of foreigners from Gaza via the Rafah crossing. Egyptian officials quoted by the Times of Israel said they had received “instructions” to reopen the Rafah border crossing on the afternoon of Oct. 14 for foreigners coming from Gaza.

Lubinets flew to Egypt to assist in the process of evacuating Ukrainian citizens from Gaza on Oct. 14.

The situation in Gaza is dire, he wrote, and 243 Ukrainian citizens, most of them women and children, urgently need to be evacuated.

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